THE GOVERNMENT needs to hold off on regulating the nascent delivery industry in order not to stifle its growth, a prominent economist said.
“It might be too early for government to regulate these on-demand delivery services,” Institute for Development and Econometric Analysis board member Calixto V. Chikiamco said in a mobile message Monday.
“These are just taking off (so the) government should be careful of overregulating and killing the industry,” Mr. Chikiamco added.
He said recent terminations of delivery riders may have been done for valid reasons such as “not following company policies and endangering the service’s (reputation with) customers.”
Separately, Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress Party National Vice-President Eva B. Arcos said terminated delivery personnel have the right to due process, and called for an investigation into their removals.
Ms. Arcos added that the latest advisory of the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) covering all delivery and courier services must be fully enforced, and that efforts must be increased to monitor companies’ compliance with labor standards.
In a statement Friday, a rider association known as the Kapatiran sa Dalawang Gulong urged the DoLE to issue a department order to protect delivery riders, rather a labor advisory, which they said is less binding.
Assistant Labor Secretary Dominique R. Tutay said in a mobile message on Monday that the department cannot issue a department order yet as there are “no existing laws on these new forms of working arrangements.”
Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said the department will consider the request in another mobile message Monday.
In July, Foodpanda Philippines suspended 100 of its delivery riders in Davao City for 10 years, allegedly for planning a wage protest.
Some 57 riders were later reinstated.
On Friday, 100 food delivery riders in Cebu who were dismissed by Grab Philippines, which claimed fraud, asked the Labor department to help them be reinstated.
“We are carefully investigating the matter, and we will continuously rely on the facts and our open communication channels with our delivery-partners,” Grab Philippines said Friday.
DoLE’s regional office on Cebu had yet to reply to a request for comment at deadline time. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago