Bill seeking jail time, fine for repeated cancellation of food, grocery deliveries filed at Senate

Robie de Guzman   •   July 14, 2020   •   257

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Lito Lapid on Tuesday said he has filed a bill that seeks to penalize repeated and unjustified cancellation of food and grocery deliveries and provide protection to delivery riders who end up paying for the cost of unclaimed items.

Senate Bill 1677 proposes to impose a jail time of one month and one day up to six months for repeated acts of unjustified cancellation of confirmed orders. The penalty will apply if a customer cancels for at least three times in a period of one month.

The customer will also need to pay a fine of P100,000.

The bill likewise requires the service providers to establish a reimbursement scheme in favor of the delivery riders/drivers which will cover the entire amount of money advanced to purchase the items, in case of cancelation of confirmed orders. Reimbursements to the riders must be made within a day from cancellation.

Service providers who fail to set up a reimbursement scheme will be meted out a fine of P500,000.00 and will have to double the amount of money not reimbursed to their delivery riders/drivers.

To prevent pranks and facilitate collection against canceling customers, the bill also requires the implementation of Know-Your-Customer (KYC) rules which will entail the submission and verification of proof of identity and residential address, subject to compliance with the Data Privacy Act of 2012.

“Sa hirap ng buhay ngayon lalo’t nasa gitna tayo ng pandemya, lahat naman tayo ay gustong kumita. Kaya humahanga tayo sa mga gaya ng service riders na gumagawa ng paraan para kumita sa legal na paraan at malaki pa ang naitutulong nila para hindi na lumabas ng bahay ang ating mga kababayan. Kaya para masiguro na hindi na sila maloloko pa ng mga biglaang pagkansela ng order, dapat masiguro na ang mga umoorder ay magbibigay ng totoong pangalan at address,” Lapid said in a statement.

Lapid files bill seeking broadband connection in all PH areas

Robie de Guzman   •   June 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Lito Lapid on Friday said he has filed a bill aiming to establish broadband internet connection in all areas, especially in “underserved and unserved” cities, municipalities and barangays, in the country.

In a statement, Lapid said his Senate Bill 1598 also known as “Last Mile Broadband Internet Connection Act,” would mandate telecommunication companies to set up a facility for broadband internet connection in far-flung or isolated areas for every mobile phone number subscription.

The senator said he filed the measure after recognizing the vital role that the internet is playing, especially in terms of information and communication, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Lapid believes that all aspects of the people’s social and economic life are now being continually and consistently being shaped by the internet and its associated technologies, including telehealth, online education, digital commerce and trading, and financial technology.

“Sa kasamaang palad, marami sa ating mga kababayan ang hindi makasabay sa pagtungo natin sa digital age,” he said.

“Problema pa rin ng marami sa atin ang mabilis na internet connection at para sa mga mahihirap nating kapatid, ang pagkakaroon ng internet ay isang bagay na hindi kasama sa kanilang prayoridad lalo sa maliit nilang kinikita. Problema din ang kuneksyon sa internet sa malalayong lugar o isolated areas,” he added.

The measure seeks to task the National Telecommunications Commission to conduct a study to determine areas in the country that are in great need of internet connection and monitor the compliance of Telcos to this program.

“Oras na maisabatas ang panukalang ito, inaasahan natin na walang komunidad ang maiiwan pagdating sa internet connectivity. Lalo sa panahon ngayon na hindi na lamang luho ang internet kung isang mahalagang pangangailangan para sa trabaho at edukasyon,” Lapid said.

Lapid eyes moratorium on student loan payment during disasters, emergencies

Robie de Guzman   •   June 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Lito Lapid on Wednesday said he has filed a bill seeking to provide moratorium on student loans during times of disasters and emergencies like the ongoing novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lapid said he recently filed Senate Bill 1538 which seeks to defer the collection of payment of all charges and costs relating to the student loan programs for Higher Education and Technical-Vocational Education and Training during calamities and emergency situations.

“Hindi natin mapipigil ang pagdating ng kalamidad o disaster sa ating bansa at walang may gusto nito, pero ang tanging magagawa na lamang natin ay tulungan lalo na ang ating mahihirap na kababayan na hindi lamang makaahon kundi masiguro na ang kanilang mga anak ay tuloy ang pag-aaral at huwag muna nilang problemahin ang loans at utang sa kanilang eskwelahan, ” Lapid said in a statement.

The senator underscored that during times of crisis, Filipino families prioritize their basic needs and the proposed measure would help them without neglecting their children’s education.

“Karaniwang ang prayoridad ng ating mga kababayan sa ganitong mga panahon ay pambili ng pagkain, gamot at pang-araw-araw na pangangailangan. Habang ang mga gastusin sa edukasyon gaya ng tuition o iba pang bayarin sa paaralan ay isasantabi na muna ng ilang pamilya dahil wala na silang natitirang salapi para dito,” he said.

“Kaya sa pamamagitan ng paglalagay ng moratorium sa students loans ay makakatulong tayo para maisalba kahit papaano ang edukasyon ng ating mga kabataan,” he added.

Under the bill, the moratorium shall take effect after the national or local government declares a state of calamity or emergency.

The student loan payment deferment shall cover the period of such declaration up to 30 days until its termination.

If the declaration exceeds 60 days, the payment of student fees may be deferred untl the end of the next academic semester or term.

The moratorium will cover loans administered by the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) or by the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) Board, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) or any other government agency and instrumentality.

The bill also states that a student’s enrollment or graduation eligibility is protected even if the moratorium would be availed of.

The measure also mandates the retroactive application of the moratorium to students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

FoodPanda, GrabFood to resume delivery services amid Luzon quarantine

Robie de Guzman   •   March 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Food delivery service providers, FoodPanda, and GrabFood both announced the resumption of their services starting Tuesday, March 17 amid the enhanced community quarantine being enforced in Luzon.

The two firms made the announcement just a few hours after saying they will temporarily shut down their food delivery services.

In a press statement, FoodPanda said it has decided to continue operations following clarification from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

“As clarified by the leadership of the Department of Trade and Industry, foodpanda is allowed to operate along with other food services platforms as providers of basic necessities,” it said on its Facebook page.

“We would like to reassure you that FoodPanda continues to operate as usual with free delivery on every order,” it added.

FoodPanda also assured it has implemented new measures to ensure security in using the delivery service.

“Our rider hubs provide hand sanitizer and masks free of charge to all our riders, who are instructed to wash their hands every two hours and after each time they handle a delivery,” it said.

It also encouraged its customers to switch to online payment to keep unnecessary human interactions to a minimum.

Meanwhile, Grab said it will resume GrabFood and GrabExpress operations on Monday afternoon with “skeletal delivery fleet.”

Grab earlier said it is working with the government on finding ways to continue serving Filipinos during this heath crisis.

“We are one with the government in combating the viral spread, and are working with the different government agencies to find ways to continue serving the needs of Filipinos during these times,” Grab said.

Prior to the declaration of enhanced community quarantine on Monday night, Grab suspended its GrabShare service in compliance with government efforts against the spread of novel coronavirus.

Under the enhanced community quarantine, the government has restricted the movement of people by implementing strict home quarantine. Only one person per household will be allowed to get out to buy basic needs.

Establishments allowed to operate during this period are only those that provide basic necessities such as supermarkets, pharmacies, convenience stores, hospitals, medical clinics, water-refilling stations, banks, money transfer, services, food preparation and delivery services, and power, energy, water and telecommunications supplies and facilities.

Operations of public transportation, including MRT, LRT and Philippine National Railways, public utility vehicles, are also suspended.

The enhanced community quarantine in the entire Luzon will be in effect from March 17 to April 13.

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