MORE essential than ever as Covid cases continue to rise, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said motorcycle riders all over the country deserve social protection, such as health insurance.
Pangilinan said he is in constant discussion with Vice President Leni Robredo on how to push for the PhilHealth coverage of the riders, so they will have something to rely on in times of sickness.
“Buwis-buhay ang araw-araw nilang pagmamaneho sa kalsada. Lantad din sila sa iba’t ibang klaseng ng sakit, kaya kailangan nila ng proteksyon. Dapat may PhilHealth, SSS, Pag-IBIG ang mga riders,” Pangilinan, who is running for vice president, said.
“Sa kabila ng kontribusyon nila sa ekonomiya, ang kinakaharap nila ay unprotected labor, walang benepisyo, mababa at di sigurado ang kita, walang health insurance, walang separation pay. Hindi ito makatarungan,” he added.
The senator underscored the crucial role played by riders especially during the pandemic.
“Siniguro nilang may mura at maaasahang sasakyan ang ating mga kababayan na pumasok sa trabaho, lalo na ang ating mga medical frontliners. Siniguro nilang hindi magugutom ang marami sa ating mga kababayan sa pamamagitan ng food at grocery deliveries,” Pangilinan said.
“Karamay sila ng mga maliliit na negosyante at entrepreneurs sa pagpapaunlad ng kanilang kabuhayan. Samakatuwid, pinadali nila ang buhay ng milyon-milyon nating mga kababayan sa panahong napakahirap lumabas, gumalaw, at maghanapbuhay,” he stressed.
Pangilinan said he and Robredo are backing the recommendation of the International Labor Organization to extend the social protection coverage to workers in the informal sector, especially amid the pandemic.
He lamented earlier statements by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) that motorcycle drivers are engaged through contracts of service.
Having no employee-employer relationship, DOLE had said that motorcycle riders do not enjoy job security.
“We will use the legal means to look into this set-up and hiring practices, and see how we can strike a balance between keeping businesses sustainable and at the same time, giving the riders the benefit and protection due them,” Pangilinan said.
Over the weekend, Pangilinan met with the riders’ group Kagulong (Kapatiran sa Dalawang Gulong). Together with Riders4Leni and the Bulacan Motorcycle Riders Confederation, Kagulong pushes for the Riders’ Agenda, which both Vice President Leni Robredo and her running-mate Pangilinan supports.