Instead of the riders, Grab will shoulder advanced payment for food orders by August

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 25) — To lessen incidents of unnecessary cancellations and abuse, GrabFood riders will soon no longer have to pay in advance for the delivery orders of their customers.

During the hearing of the House Committee on Trade and Industry on Thursday, Grab spokesperson and lawyer Nicka Hosaka said instead of their food delivery riders, the company itself will shoulder monetary online transactions in a new model which they plan to roll out in August.

"Moving towards August, we will implement this model whereby when the delivery partner reaches the restaurant, [he] does not need to bring out any cash or pay any cash. He will simply pick up the order," Hosaka told the panel.

According to Hosaka, the restaurant will then receive the payment straight via the app, so the driver does not need to wait for his own cash to be reimbursed. Once he delivers the order to the customer, the cash collected will go straight to him.

"Everything is done online. Meron tayong mine-maintain na driver wallet, so kung ano 'yung kokolektahin niya from the eater, ito ay made-debit sa kanyang wallet," Hosaka told the committee.

[Translation: We maintain a feature called the driver wallet, so whatever he collects from the eater, it will just be debited from his wallet.

Hosaka added that if Grab is not able to collect payment from the customer because of a no-show incident, nothing will be reduced from the driver's digital wallets.

Grab currently has a 100 percent reimbursement process in place, wherein riders are only paid after reporting cancellations of customers. Hosaka explained that riders currently have a ₱1,500-limit in their digital wallets during transactions, but these can be cashed out anytime.

"We are just reversing [the process], it is already Grab who will advance it. One hundred percent of the monetary liability will now be on Grab," she said.

In a text message to CNN Philippines, Hosaka then clarified that the new model will not automatically cover all of their current merchants by August, but they will slowly work towards reaching their full target.

"[We will start with] 70 percent of our merchants. Hindi pa po lahat ng merchants will be ready for the new model by August. Gradual po 'yung pag-implement depending on the merchant," she said.

[Translation: We will start with 70 percent of our merchants. Not all our merchants will be ready for the new model by August. Our implementation will be gradual depending on the merchant.]

The House committee deliberated on House Bill 6958, or the Food and Grocery Delivery Services Act. Under the measure, anyone who makes unnecessary cancellations of confirmed orders may get the penalty of prision mayor or at least six years of jail time.

Those who cancel must also pay a ₱100,000 fine and reimburse the food and delivery service providers for the value of the items advanced by the rider. They should also pay the provider an amount of money double the fee charged for the canceled transaction, the bill further prescribes.

Meanwhile, those who shame, demean, embarrass, or humiliate the delivery riders across any platform may face at least six months of imprisonment or prision correccional.

READ: House bill wants six years of jail time for canceling food delivery orders

AKO Bicol Partylist Rep. Alfredo Garbin, author of the bill, earlier noted that the House is "sincere in protecting" all food and delivery service providers from pranks on deliveries, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.