"Where is the accountability here?"
Now that Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza has already filed a resolution seeking a congressional inquiry into the proliferation of unregulated couriers, the House of Representatives could finally come up with legislation to regulate the activities of these delivery services outfits which are allegedly being used by unscrupulous individuals for illicit activities.
In his House Resolution No. 481 entitled “A Resolution Urging the House of Representatives of the Philippines to Call for an Inquiry in Aid of Legislation, Into The Proliferation of Unregulated Courier Operators,” Atienza urged his colleagues to look into unregistered couriers which could pose dangers to the public.
These unlicensed couriers include small players like those catering to on-demand delivery, like Grab Delivery and Grab Food, Transportify, Angkas Delivery and Lalamove which can be availed by simply downloading apps on smartphones.
Big-time players which lack the necessary requisites to operate in the Philippines also include the Ninja Express Tech Philippines, or Ninja Van; the PH Global Jet Express, Inc or J&T Express and the AAI Logistics Cargo Express, Inc. or Black Arrow Express.
A check with the list of couriers accredited by the Department of Information and Communications Technology reveals not one of the aforementioned couriers are among the 113 couriers accredited by the Postal Regulations Division of the DICT.
Lacking the needed training and qualifications, these unlicensed couriers and forwarders are reportedly prone to exploitation by unscrupulous individuals to apply, and later on steal, lose or damage the property of customers.
Worse, customers are left uncertain with regard to whom to run after the value of their lost, damaged, or pilfered shipments. There there is no clear identity of the liable party, as these operators claim their drivers are simply independent contractors, which means these operators are simply facilitators.
Thus, in cases when problems arises, like pilfered packages or even food poisoning, these couriers could simply pass the blame on their independent contractors.
Instances of these couriers being used by unscrupulous individuals including drug traffickers and even terrorists have been documented and reported in the media.
The Quiapo explosion in May 2017, for one, was traced to a package sent and carried by a Grab driver to its consignee.
In another instance, a TNVS driver was arrested while delivering another drug package to a consignee.
A news report aired on television detailed how a package delivered by J&T Express to an online customer was pilfered. Months passed before the customer was reimbursed by the courier company for her loss.
“There is indeed a need to craft a law in order to regulate the couriers services in the country to protect the consumers and the legitimate players of the industry. They maybe helping fill the void in the delivery services created by the sudden surge of e-commerce, but still they cannot be left uncheck and unregulated.”
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It seems the National Bureau of Investigation has no full grasp of the concept of computerization.
For a while, NBI officials have prided themselves in claiming they are already wired and all their records can easily be accessed in a click of the button. But it seems they have no idea of updating one’s record.
While this was brought to my attention to my friend, I actually had my own experience concerning the NBI’s failure to update its database. I ignored it then, thinking it was just an isolated case.
My friend, who also happens to be a journalist, had his libel case dismissed about three decades ago. But when he applied for a US Visa January this year, his case appeared in the database of the US Embassy and he was advised to clear himself with the NBI which he did.
But when he went again to renew his clearance recently, his “hit” once again appeared in the NBI database.
I had a similar experience. About two years ago, I was asked to secure an NBI clearance as a requirement for my LTOPF. It was then that I found out that my case, which was already dismissed in 1990, was still not cleared by the NBI. So I had to go to the Manila RTC to get a court clearance and eventually secured my NBI clearance.
However, when it again tried to secure a clearance around April this year, the same case again flashed in the monitor of the NBI personnel processing my papers.
So, what’s wrong with their records? When my friend asked the NBI personnel who attended to him, he was told they cannot do anything to expunge his record regarding his case even though it was already dismissed because it was in their database. What’s the problem with that? All they have to do is update their database.
Do we need to undergo the same process every time we renew our clearance? Clearly, that is incompetence on the NBI’s part and they are not doing anything to address the issue. And we, the public, are the ones made to suffer.