“The Senate has approved on the third and final reading the measure that seeks to prohibit hoax orders and protect delivery riders and drivers from canceled bookings and fake deliveries.
“With 23 affirmative votes, the chamber unanimously approved Senate Bill No. 2302, which prohibits any scheme where the delivery driver or rider of food, grocery, and pharmacy items would have to make an advanced payment to fulfill orders. Under the measure, delivery service providers will be required to shoulder the cost of the bill in case of hoax orders.
“Customers will also be mandated to submit a valid proof of identity when registering to an online delivery platform, subject to data privacy laws.
“Persons found guilty of canceling confirmed orders unless allowed by the delivery service, placing hoax orders, or refusing to receive unpaid orders will be slapped with a penalty of up to six months in prison and/or a fine of up to P100,000.
“Delivery service providers that will require their riders to make advance payments will also be slapped with the same penalties upon conviction as well as revocation of their licenses and permits.”
“The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) have announced that essential workers are exempted from the ‘no vaccination, no ride’ policy for users of public transportation, which kicked in on January 17.
“‘They are exempted, our workers, because they are rendering essential services,’ said DOLE secretary Silvestre Bello III. ‘When you stop them, how will our businesses move? When there is no business, there is no economy. Luckily, our workers are exempted.’
“The DOTr clarified that essential workers who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated must be able to present a company ID or a certificate of employment: ‘If going to work but without vaccination card, one must show that your work is an ‘essential work’ (since our [Department Order 2022-001] refers to essential goods and services, hence the work must be essential, too).’
“The agency’s definition of ‘essential work’ will be based on the guidelines issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), meaning those working in industries allowed to operate under Alert Level 3 are deemed essential. The list of essential activities are as follows:
- work in an essential industry (including job interviews)
- medical checkup or examination
- purchase of essential goods or services
- application for passport, driver’s license, etc.
“Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals going out for the aforementioned essential activities will need to show proof like a medical appointment, a barangay health pass, or a certificate from a hiring company stating you need to take an exam or attend a job interview.
“Bello also said that a ‘massive information drive’ is needed to inform both the public and the implementing agencies.”
“The Philippine National Railways (PNR) is about to receive some considerable upgrades in the coming years. One of them is a new 565km line that stretches from Metro Manila all the way to Sorsogon—the South Long Haul Project.
“Also known as PNR Bicol, the new railway will supposedly improve travel times heading south and also generate jobs. Cutting a 12-hour drive down to a much more convenient four-hour train ride, though, won’t be easy. And it won’t be cheap, either.
“The DOTr recently signed a P142-billion contract with the joint venture of China Railway Group, China Railway No. 3 Engineering Group, and China Railway Engineering Consulting Group for the ‘construction, and electromechanical works for the project,’ and this is only for the first segment. This is the agency’s largest single railway contract ever.
“The first segment of the rail line’s first phase will span 380km and will stretch from Banlic, Calamba, to Daraga, Albay. It will include the construction of 23 PNR stations, 230 bridges, 10 tunnels, and a 70-hectare depot in San Pablo, Laguna.”
“The DOTr has announced that it is holding a mobile vaccination drive for both commuters and transport workers at the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) from January 24 to 28. This initiative is in partnership with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and an estimated 500 vaccinations per day are expected to take place here.
“The drive will be open from 8am to 12pm at Gate 4 of the PITX’s second floor. Keep in mind, though, that only AstraZeneca shots are available, and that individuals receiving their booster shot will be prioritized (though first and second does will be available, too).
“Walk-ins are also allowed, though registration will be required upon arrival at the venue.”
“According to the DOTr, the EDSA Busway, also known as the EDSA Carousel, reached a total ridership of 47,104,197 in 2021, averaging around 129,000 riders a day last year.
“The DOTr highlighted that in the first three months of 2021 alone, the busway was able to service over six million commuters. That’s two million in January, 2.3 million in February, and 2.4 million in March.
“Use of the EDSA Busway ramped up significantly toward the end of last year as well. Recorded data showed that ridership reached 6.4 and 7.4 million in October and November, respectively. Ridership peaked at 7.6 million in December 2021.”
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