The riders that used to deliver people’s food during the pandemic’s worst lockdowns are themselves on the brink of starving due to their 10-year suspension by Foodpanda—and very few options for a new livelihood. Some of them can’t even buy milk or food for their children today.
At one of his lowest points during the pandemic, a 30-year-old dad lost his job as a food delivery rider.
He was one of 31 Davao City riders recently slapped with a 10-year suspension by Foodpanda upon finding out about their plan to take a “rest day” as a silent protest to its wage policy.
To continue making ends meet, he decided to shift gears and become a fisherman for his family. Due to heavy rains, however, it also turned out to be a difficult feat. “Malakas na din po ang alon dito kaya kailangan kong tumigil sa pangingisda,” he told PhilStar L!fe. “Wala nang panggastos kaya nangungutang nalang at umaasang matulungan.”
Foodpanda a “no-show” at scheduled dialogue with DOLE, riders
In an official statement, the food delivery app pointed out that certain riders “have broken their agreement” with their planned action. But Edmund Carillo—president of the Davao United Delivery Riders Association Inc. (DUDRAI)—said, “Sa service agreement po namin, hindi po nakasulat na kung hindi ka kukuha ng schedule is iteterminate ka or isususpend ka ng ten years.”
Foodpanda stressed it “has always maintained regular local dialogues with riders to discuss their concerns so we can address issues from various perspectives.” Though when it was their turn to explain their side to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and affected riders as their witnesses on Monday, July 26, the Foodpanda management was nowhere to be found.(This writer has reached out to Foodpanda for another statement but has yet to receive a response.)
Carillo said they ended up voicing out their concerns to the DOLE instead, with some of them turning emotional. “Kaming mga rider, nakapaglabas na ng mga hinaing namin, at nasabi ang buong pangyayari tungkol sa suspension,” he said. “Umiiyak pa yung iba kasi wala na talagang source of income.”
With how things are currently moving in the case, they’re now worried that a solution (or perhaps a chance to get their job back) could take longer than expected—or worse, it might not come at all.
How the affected riders have been
At present, Carillo is trying his luck at other food delivery apps to provide for his family. “Umiiyak na ang asawa ko kasi hirap na hirap na sa panggastos sa araw-araw, eh may tatlong anak din po ako,” he shared.
“Naghahanap pa ako ng diskarte para ipambili ng gatas at maintenance ng gamot sa nanay at tatay,” a 36-year-old rider, who has three children, said in a separate conversation. “Ang iba sa amin, pinapalayas na din sa kanilang nirerentahang bahay.”
Another rider shared that they’ve been helping each other out. “Buti nalang po may mga rider na nag-aambag para mabigyan ng bigas at pang-ulam na canned goods,” he shared, expressing his heartfelt gratitude.
“Mahal namin ang Foodpanda. Tamang kita lang naman hinaing namin pero ayun, wala pa ngang nangyayari or ginagawa, tinanggal na kami,” he continued.
How people can help
Aside from staying informed on the matter, Carillo pointed out that one of the best ways that people in Davao can be of help is by asking for their services. “Malaki po ang maitutulong sa amin kung may magpapadeliver pa din po sa amin,” he said. “Pwede po kaming magcoordinate sa isa’t-isa kung sino ang malapit sa area ng nagpapadeliver.”
If you’re interested to give the affected riders a helping hand, you may contact the DUDRAI President at 0991 360 2782 or 0966 589 7812.
Article thumbnails courtesy of Edmund Carillo