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By:  Meg Adonis 

The local government of Navotas has signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with ride-hailing app Grab that will see around 500 displaced tricycle drivers and residents employed as delivery service providers.

Under the MOA, the City Public Employment Service Office, City Franchising and Permits Processing Unit, and City Business Permits and Licensing Office will recruit the drivers and jobless residents who own motorcycles. “The city government will also entice owners of licensed micro, small and medium enterprises to become Grab merchants and operate their businesses digitally through the Grab app,” the Navotas public information office said.

Grab will provide basic training to hired riders and give them the same benefits as their independent contractor drivers, while the local government will be in charge of screening applicants, providing rapid passes and cross-boundary permits, and securing working permits and tax identification number IDs.

The MOA stated that those hired would work as delivery partners for six months to help them recover financially from the impact of the monthslong lockdown in Metro Manila due to the threat posed by the new coronavirus disease.

“This partnership with Grab Philippines is a welcome opportunity for Navoteños who strive to support their families amid the pandemic. The GrabBayanihan [socioeconomic recovery initiative] not only provides livelihood to our people, it also brings hope that life will become better if we help and lift each other up,” Mayor Toby Tiangco said.

For the past months, the private sector has been partnering with local governments in the metropolis like Manila and Valenzuela to provide jobs to displaced public utility vehicle drivers.