GrabFood riders seek exemption from business permit fees

Feb. 01, 2023
Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Delivery riders in Davao City earn at least 30 pesos from every item delivered and can take home around 200 to 1,000 pesos a day.

Such irregular income also gets deducted from costs for fuel, motorcycle maintenance, and other needs.

For this reason, around 1,000 delivery riders sought exemption from paying the business permit fee amounting to around P3,000 mandated by the city government on delivery riders.

The group, representing GrabFood delivery, addressed city councilor Jesus Joseph Zozobrado to help their cause.

“We would like to request a petition to stop business permits for delivery riders in Davao City as a mandate by the city government, it’s a big problem for all riders in the executive order. Many of us encountered financial scarcity regarding this kind of additional requirements working as freelance riders, we have no business to sell, and we under the company as partner service to provide good service to all Davaoeños. Our income is based on per delivery that we have.”

Councilor Bernard Al-ag, chair of the city council committee on trade, commerce and industry said his committee will conduct a hearing this week to tackle the petition and to review the current ordinance passed by the 19th city council requiring delivery riders to obtain business permits.

“Nakita nato nga disadvantageous sa ilaha maoy ilahang ginasulti. When you have a business permit daghan pud ang tan-awon nato nga aspeto kay kung mga gagmay nga negosyante man ni sila exempted (I see there has been a disadvantage as they said. When you have a business permit there are also other aspects to look at, such as if they are small businesspeople, they should be exempted),” Al-ag said.

Al-ag added that there is a law exempting small business owners with less than P50,000 capital to pay their business permits.

His committee is also set to invite representatives from different delivery app companies in the city.

Eliser A Rosales, one of the representatives of the Freelance Delivery Riders under GrabFood delivery said they attached an initial 800 names in the petition while another batch of signatures will be sent within this week.

Rosales said they decided to seek the help of the city council upon learning that the collection of payment for delivery riders doubled compared to the past year which he said is an additional burden.

“Naa man gud mi mga kauban nga nakabayad na P2,700 tapos ang uban mas daku pa. Kay kung di ka makabayad karon naa man mi penalty nga singko mil (We have fellow workers who have paid P2,700 and some even more.  If they didn’t pay, they will be fined P5,000,” Rosales said.

He added that the deadline for the renewal of permits was January 31, prompting many riders to borrow money from creditors for their renewal.

Rosales argued that with their current relationship with GrabFood, they are not providing any product to the customers but only as an additional service provider which he said the company describes as “partners.”

 He said they could hardly save from their earnings with the high prices and costs for maintaining their services.

“Kanang minimum namo nga kita bale nga P1,000 kuhaan man na nimo og gasolina, pangkaon nimo, maintainance sa motor ug kung utang na apil pa ang monthly magreserve pa ka. Wala gyuy mabilin (If our minimum earning is P1,000, we have to deduct fuel, meals, maintenance for the motorcycle, and if the unit is on loan we pay for that. We’re left with nothing),” Rosales said.

In 2021, delivery food riders from Food Panda Philippines also sought help from the city council to suspend the collection of payment for a business permit during the pandemic. The 19th city council then approved a resolution filed by Councilor Pamela Librado-Morata to review the city’s tax code and possibly ease the burden of food delivery riders in paying taxes to the city government and the Bureau of Internal Revenue. (

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