MANILA – The inclusion of food delivery riders and public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers in the next priority list for Covid-19 vaccination will be crucial to keep the economy going.
Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, co-author of Senate Bill 1810 or the Freelancers Protection Act, said in a statement on Thursday that there is a need to recognize “the crucial role of food delivery riders amid the pandemic”.
“Pagdating sa bakuna, parte po ang food delivery riders sa A4 category ng frontline workers in food retail, including food service delivery. Kasama sila sa bilang ng economic front-liners na araw-araw nagtatrabaho para buhayin ang kanilang pamilya at ang ating ekonomiya (When it comes to vaccination, food delivery riders are part of the A4 category. They are economic front-liners who work everyday for their family and the economy),” Go said.
Food delivery riders enable Filipinos to stay home, Go said.
Senator Grace Poe said PUV drivers are key members of the economy because of the work they do.
“We hope they will not be bumped off the line and get their shots in the current rollout of the government’s vaccination program,” Poe said in another statement.
“Our PUV drivers need the vaccine now given the critical frontline work that they do. Throughout this pandemic, drivers have been a lifeline to their communities,” she added.
Poe said that in the ongoing pandemic, PUV drivers ferry healthcare workers to hospitals, deliver food, and helped many businesses to keep running.
“The vaccine will not only protect our drivers but also strengthen the resilience of our essential transport services,” she stated.
The inoculation of the A4 group may begin in June once steady supplies of vaccines are assured.
The sector includes workers in food retail, including food service delivery; workers in financial services in private and government; workers in hotels and accommodation; religious leaders; security personnel; news media; customer-facing personnel of telecoms, cable and internet service providers, electricity distribution, water distribution utilities; education and judiciary sectors; and overseas Filipino workers not previously classified and scheduled for deployment within two months.
It also includes frontline government workers engaged in operations of the government transport system, quarantine inspection, worker safety inspection and other activities indispensable to the Covid-19 response; frontline government workers in charge of tax collection; assessment of businesses for incentives, election; national ID, data collection personnel; diplomatic community and Department of Foreign Affairs; and Department of Public Works and Highways personnel in charge of monitoring government infrastructure projects.
Go likewise called on the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Labor and Employment to intensify their efforts to promote the welfare of workers in the food delivery industry and protect them from fraudulent transactions.
“Pagdating naman sa mga manloloko na nagpapahirap sa buhay ng ating food delivery riders, hindi po natin palalampasin ito. Mayroon tayong mga batas, tulad ng Revised Penal Code at Cybercrime Law, na pwedeng gawing basehan ng kaso laban sa mga nangsasamantala (On cases of fake transactions that add to our delivery riders’ woes, we will not let those pass. We have laws, like the Revised Penal Code and cybercrime law, that can be used as a basis in filing cases),” he said.
The senator also asked the National Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies to crack down on fake bookings and abusive customers that result in riders paying for the cost of the items. (PNA)