Courier service provider Lalamove said it is continuously communicating with the family of late delivery rider Noel Escote who was found lifeless while resting on his parked motorcycle on November 1.
The courier said it is “deeply saddened” by the situation and has reached out to the rider’s son to provide immediate assistance after they were informed of the tragic incident.
“From our understanding, Mr. Escote was not fulfilling orders on the day of the incident, however, we understand Lalamove is a crucial source of income for his family and the immense impact of the tragedy,” it said in a statement.
“We are in continuous conversation with the family to understand their situation and have provided additional assistance and financial support, to help them go through the difficult times. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family,” Lalamove added.
Reports said that Escote, 40, was found lifeless on his motorcycle parked along United Street in Kapitolyo village at Pasig City on All Saints’ Day.
He was brought to the Pasig City General Hospital but was declared dead at around 7:14 a.m. of that day.
Escote was suspected of having COVID-19, but a medico-legal has yet to confirm the actual cause of his death.
“During a cursory examination, no external injury was noted, and further, the cadaver was lifted by the City Health Sanitation Section,” a police report, as quoted by Inquirer.net, read.
According to a letter penned by Jennifer Bocboc and sent to Sen. Risa Hontiveros, Escote was already not feeling well on that fateful day. Bocboc was his live-in partner.
She said that Escote decided to work with the hopes of catching a booking despite the holiday.
“Nagtambay po [siya] doon sa Kapitolyo upang magpahinga habang nag-aantay na mapasukan ng booking, ngunit, ayun na nga po ang nangyari. Natagpuan na po siyang wala ng buhay at nakasaad sa police report ay undetermined ang cause of death at suspected Covid raw,” Bocboc said in the letter.
‘Wake-up call’ for legislature
Following this, Hontiveros once again called for the passage of the bill granting stronger protection to delivery riders following the incident.
“Let his death be a wake-up call to our colleagues in the legislature to immediately act on pending bills that will make sure that the rights and welfare of the increasing number of gig economy workers are upheld,” she said in a statement on Monday.
Hontiveros also asked Lalamove, Escote’s company, to assist his family.
“Noel is an example of a Filipino who is trying to deliver to meet the needs of his family. So I am calling on Lalamove, together with Noel’s family, to extend help to his orphan so that he can at least be given a decent burial,” she said before.
Last month, the opposition lawmaker filed Senate Bill No. 1373 or the Protektadong Online Workers, Entrepreneurs, Riders at Raketera or the POWERR Act.
It seeks to protect the rights and welfare of gig economy workers, including delivery riders and freelancers facing low pay and precarious conditions at work.
Under the measure, qualified workers are enrolled in government social protection programs such as PhilHealth, SSS, Pag-ibig, among others.
Online platforms under the bill will also be held liable for injuries sustained by the workers, including delivery riders while performing their duties.
“Currently, delivery riders are categorized as ‘independent contractors’ as opposed to employees. Therefore, they are not qualified to receive social protections under our labor laws. There is also no clear policy for accident and health insurance, so it is good to pass the law to fill in the said gaps,” Hontiveros said.
“Let there be no more lives sacrificed before their grievances are met. Immediate action is needed to prevent such incidents, especially since more and more people are entering this type of occupation,” she added.