THE Senate on Monday, January 17, 2022, approved on third and final reading a bill that seeks to criminalize “hoax ordering” in a bid to protect delivery riders and drivers.

Senate Bill 2302, also known as An Act Providing Measures to Protect Individuals Engaged in Food, Grocery and Pharmacy Delivery Services, seeks to protect delivery riders and drivers from shelling out personal money for canceled bookings or hoax orders.

Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, one of the authors of the bill, noted an alarming incidence of fake bookings and hoax orders as more and more people rely on online bookings for food, groceries and medicines during the pandemic.

He said the passage of the bill into law would improve the protection afforded to delivery riders and drivers as well as the general public.

“In light of the rising cases of unjust order cancellations and hoax-orders, there is an urgent need for the State to protect delivery drivers and riders of all food, grocery and pharmacy delivery services. Not only is this bill very timely during this pandemic, but this measure will also be relevant even after the pandemic because the internet has made all of us accustomed to online transactions and made many of us reliant on delivery services,” Pimentel said in a statement.

Under the bill, it shall be prohibited for any food, grocery and pharmacy delivery service provider to require delivery riders or drivers to advance any monetary amount for the fulfillment of orders. In case of cancellation of confirmed orders, the food, grocery and pharmacy delivery service provider shall still pay the delivery riders or drivers for the service fee due to them as if the transaction was successful.

It shall also be the duty of service providers to pursue claims for collection from its canceling customers.

Under the bill, delivery service providers who shall violate the act face imprisonment and/or a fine not exceeding P100,000 and their licenses and permits revoked.

The bill also requires the implementation of Know-Your-Customer rules which shall entail submission and verification of proof of identity and residential address of customers in compliance with the Data Privacy Act of 2012.

Cancellation of confirmed orders, unless such option is allowed by the delivery service provider would be deemed unlawful under the act. It would also be unlawful to place a hoax order or to refuse to receive an unpaid confirmed order under the act.

Any person who shall commit any of the prohibited acts as provided in the bill faces imprisonment and/or a fine not exceeding P100,000.

SB 2302 was also authored by Senators Lito Lapid, Joel Villanueva and Majority Leader Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri. It was sponsored by Pimentel.