Manila’s Delivery Guys: Meet The People Who Work Outside So You Can Stay Home

"We need to do it because we have bills to pay. We have no choice."

Next to those in the medical field, some of the most vulnerable right now are delivery workers. They are outdoors for most of the day while many are at home, shielding themselves from the coronavirus. Manila is now on its second week of lockdown and people depend heavily on delivery services for their survival.

Travelling between one closed city to another atop motorcycles, delivery workers risk their own health to bring people daily essentials like food and water, and so that their own families have something to eat.

As Filipinos continue to adjust to a new normal, VICE spoke with some of these delivery guys about how much has changed, the daily struggles they face in the outside world, and their hopes for the future.

Joel, 40

“Right now, there are more orders, but we have to wait a long time in restaurants. There’s always a long line. Before, there were no lines. There are also some main roads that are closed. But the hardest part is exhaustion. I hope people cooperate with the lockdown. It’s scary. But even though we're scared we can’t do anything about it because we need to work for our families. It’s getting harder and harder because police are stricter. They used to let us pass, but now, if you don’t have a delivery in that area, you can't take the shortcut. Some authorities shout at you or carry sticks to point at you and intimidate you.”

I hope people cooperate with the lockdown. It’s scary. But even though we're scared we can’t do anything about it because we need to work for our families.

Gisan, 25

“It’s really hard. We can’t move properly. Many stores are closed and customers rarely get anything delivered. Still, it takes longer to get the job done. Dispatchers take long to respond. Because some stores are closed, we can’t work right away. But I do it for my family. We won’t have money if we stay home. It’s really hard out here. If I had the choice, I wouldn’t do it. It’s harder to be a delivery rider now. We would rather stay home, but authorities should give us food. If they can’t give it to us, we have to find our own way to make money. Right now, the government hasn’t given us anything. I’m young but I worry about my family. My five siblings and their children depend on me.”

Harvey Jun, 20

“There’s not much work but we try hard. Today, I’ve only had three deliveries even if I started at 2 PM. In condos, we have to stay in the lobby and can’t deliver to people’s units. So now, the process is longer. I hope this virus ends so we can work properly again.”

Jericho, 25

“Most restaurants are closed so there are a lot of delivery cancellations. It’s really much harder now. Roads are closed, so it’s difficult to enter some areas. We used to have alternate routes that we can’t use anymore. Now we have to pass the long way. It’s harder now but we soldier on. It’s also harder to coordinate with dispatchers because they don’t respond right away. It takes them almost an hour before cancelling. With vendors, it also takes a long time because lines are long. Orders pile up. Now it takes us almost 30 to 45 minutes, even an hour, to deliver. It’s difficult because we still have to interact with people. We just take precaution. Like in dangerous or suspicious places, what I do is I just have the customer get the delivery from our thermal bag. I hope this all ends, whatever it is that we have. Because we’re all affected. So many things changed in a big way. Riders don’t want to be outside but we need to do it, because working helps us, even if just in a small way. We need to do it because we have bills to pay. We have no choice.”

Riders don’t want to be outside but we need to do it, because working helps us, even if just in a small way. We need to do it because we have bills to pay. We have no choice.

John Paul, 20

“We’re too busy. Everyone’s panicking. There are more orders for water. We now work until 7 PM, whereas in the past, we were done by 5 PM. I hope this all ends. For the coronavirus to leave us.”

Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.

Tagged:

Philippines, Work, jobs, Manila, Delivery, social distancing

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