‘Less than 10’ deliveries involved in illegal drugs, says Grab

Rambo Talabong
‘Less than 10’ deliveries involved in illegal drugs, says Grab
This comes after the PDEA reports that drivers of ride-hailing services are being used to deliver narcotics; Uber reports 'zero incidents' of this sort

MANILA, Philippines – Grab Philippines asked its commuters to keep calm Tuesday, September 26, after the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said drivers of ride-hailing services were being used for deliveries of illegal drugs.

According to Grab country head Brian Matthew Cu, only less than 10 have been reported involved in the illegal practice.

“Less than 10 that have been involved in issues like this, about them being used as tools, not being involved as part of the crime [themselves],” Cu told reporters during a press briefing which launched a training program with the Philippine National Police (PNP) Highway Patrol Group (HPG).

Reached for comment, Uber Communications head Cat Avelino said it was “zero incidents for Uber.”

Cu said Grab Delivery, the service supposedly being used to send narcotics, records over 20,000 dispatches a week, and that it would be unfair to fault the thousands for the error of a few.

“What I don’t want to happen is for regulators to see our technology and our service for the minority of users that are using it for crimes, and ending up shutting down a service that benefits a vast majority,” Cu added. (READ: What’s the fuss about the Grab, Uber regulation issue?)

While Uber does not have a delivery service, its patrons use their service to send packages through the regular booking service, asking drivers to bring packages to the users’ destinations.

Vigilance asked from drivers

In the same briefing, PNP HPG head Chief Superintendent Arnel Escobal said the suppression of such practices primarily lies in the hands of the delivery drivers.

“Grab partners, you are not [a] law enforcement agency pwede niyong buklatin [ang deliveries] (you can open the deliveries), unlike us law enforcers parang abuse yun (it’s like abuse), we need a warrant para buksan ‘yun (to open them),” Escobal said.

He explained that his officers cannot just stop delivery services in the middle of the road without prior knowledge of what they expect to find.

Cu agreed with Escobal, announcing that they have already begun informing and reminding their drivers that they can open and refuse packages sent through Grab Delivery.

He assured Grab drivers that they will not impose penalties on them if they refuse.

Uber’s Avelino added that they do the same for their “partners.”

“We regularly remind our driver partners to take precaution and only fulfill trips with riders [or] passengers,” Avelino said. 

Escobal warned delivery drivers, however, that they should be more vigilant, for if they are caught delivering illegal drugs, they can be charged as accomplices to the crime.

“So immediately, when it comes to his knowledge i-report kaagad niya (one should report it immediately),” he added. – Rappler.com


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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.