The management of Food Panda told the Baguio City Council during the June 24 regular session that the company will look into the concerns raised by riders. Chelsea Hill, the company’s Corporate and Government Affairs Manager,
said that after reviewing the riders’ complaints, they plan to develop improved projects and programs to benefit the riders, whom they regard as their independent workers. In May 2024, a number of Food Panda riders in the city
staged a “tigil byahe” or temporary halt of delivery operations to demand fair pay, just benefits, and better
working conditions from the management.

Food Panda riders, represented by John Jay Chan, Jose Conseho, and Leonard Payoyo, raised concerns on the
company’s lack of a physical office and business permit in the city, making it difficult to address accidents or
complaints promptly. They also mentioned non-compliance with labor regulations, such as failing to provide personal protective equipment and fair contract terms, and the misclassification of riders as independent contractors to avoid providing benefits. Furthermore, they criticized the content of the riders’ contracts, pointing out that it lacks clarity on the fare matrix for calculating earnings, resulting in low and unjust compensation.

Food Panda Refutes Riders’ Claims

Contrary to the riders’ claims about the company’s lack of office and business permits to operate in the city, Hill clarified that they have a business permit issued under the name Delivery Hero Dmart Philippines, which is the
company’s official name. While Food Panda is just their brand name. This was confirmed by Permits and
Licensing Division head Allan Abayao in a recent SMS exchange. Currently, there is a service desk in place where riders raise their issues online by submitting tickets with their concerns. The company responds to these concerns
also through online channels.

Delivery Hero Logistics Operation Manager Ruben Mariano said creating another service desk is unnecessary as the current one caters to nationwide operations. With regard to the alleged low service fee that the riders mentioned, Mariano explained that the company was testing a scheme where riders could see all active orders and choose which ones to serve. The City Council’s Committee on Laws, Human Rights, and Justice, chaired by Councilor Jose Molintas, is currently conducting an investigation into the matter. Councilor Molintas urged the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to verify whether Food Panda is registered for labor contracting and sought clarification on the responsibilities and implications of such registration.

Jordan G. Habbiling/SP

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