L-R: Leopoldo de Castro Jr (foodpanda Finance Director), Angelo Luis Apostol Sta. Maria (foodpanda rider), Secretary Silvestre Bello III (DOLE Secretary), Mr. Rex Paul Recoter (PhilHealth, Senior Manager), Patricia Jacinto (foodpanda Operations Director), Undersecretary Benjo Benavidez (DOLE)
Leading food and quick-commerce digital platform foodpanda and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) have partnered to help foodpanda’s delivery partners gain access to the government’s mandated healthcare benefits, in line with the implementation of the Universal Healthcare Program.
According to Lhecks de Castro, finance director of foodpanda Philippines, the idea for the partnership began at the height of the pandemic when the government rolled-out the massive COVID-19 testing initiative in which PhilHealth membership is required for free testing.
“As we looked after the safety and welfare of our Ka Panda partner riders at the onset of the pandemic in 2020, we sought for ways to make testing easier and more accessible—and getting as many of our riders onboarded to PhilHealth’s services was critical,” de Castro said during foodpanda and PhilHealth’s joint courtesy call to Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III at the DOLE headquarters in Intramuros.
“By delivery partners we mean the thousands of motorcycle riders and bikers (and even walkers and scooter riders in CBD areas) nationwide who will benefit from this initiative.” de Castro added.
A fitting backdrop
The courtesy call to Secretary Bello served as the venue for the ceremonial turnover of a PhilHealth ID to a partner delivery rider to symbolize the partnership between foodpanda and PhilHealth.
Patricia Jacinto, operations director of foodpanda Philippines, noted that it was fitting that Sec. Bello was witness to the ceremonial handover, as it was DOLE that released Labor Advisory 14, which provided guidance to platforms on ensuring better working conditions for delivery riders in food delivery and courier activities under independent contract agreements. One of the provisions was the guidance to platforms to facilitate registration and access by freelance delivery riders to social security programs of the government, including PhilHealth.
“We at foodpanda are committed to providing a safety net for our Ka Pandas all over the country, with their health and safety being a top priority,” Jacinto said. “The partnership with PhilHealth, witnessed by no less than Sec. Bello, is key to our success, and shows that we mean business when we say that we care for our riders.”
“It is a win-win initiative for us. In the same way that it helps foodpanda’s program for delivery partners’ welfare, it will help PhilHealth to finally reach this sector.” de Castro also added.
Special incentive for riders
Under the partnership, foodpanda will collaborate with PhilHealth in checking the membership status of its partner riders. It also provides the opportunity for PhilHealth to enroll non-member riders as mandatory individual members, as provided by the Universal Health Care Law.
The two organizations have also committed to jointly conduct information activities to educate delivery partners on the benefits and value of PhilHealth membership, as well as provide incentives to delivery partners to become mandatory individual members, by holding monthly raffle draws for six months (May to October), and one grand raffle draw in December 2022.
“We hope that more and more riders understand and appreciate the benefits of PhilHealth membership, as we continue to come up with ways to support their health and safety,” de Castro said.
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