De Lima files bill seeking to protect volunteers in disaster or emergency situations
Senator Leila De Lima on Monday filed a bill that would protect licensed or accredited volunteers from liability when performing their duties in times of disaster or emergency situations.
Senate Bill 1879 seeks to provide safeguards that can protect volunteers from liability from fines, detention, and even criminal charges, depending on the acts they have done during emergency or crisis situations.
“These volunteers deserve to be protected and be given due recognition because of their contribution to society, especially in crisis situations,” she said in a statement on Monday.
“By setting up a conducive and enabling legal environment for volunteers, it is hoped that this will entice more volunteers to participate and to take an active role in nation-building,” she added
Under Senate Bill 1879, qualified volunteers should not be held liable for harm caused by an act or omission if they were acting in an emergency situation and that the harm was not caused by negligence, recklessness, or conscious indifference to the rights or safety of an individual.
“The liability protection for volunteers under this Act shall not apply to misconduct that constitutes a crime or was performed under the influence of intoxicating alcohol or any dangerous drug at the time of the misconduct,” De Lima clarified.
The bill also seeks to grant insurance to qualified volunteers for disability, medical attention, and death benefits if they suffer during the performance of their duties.
Under the bill, volunteers will be given insurance granted by the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency, such as Disability Benefits of up to P350,000 when they suffer total or partial disability as a result of injuries sustained during the performance of their duties.
Families of volunteers who died in the line of duty shall receive a death benefit of P300,000.
Volunteers who need to be hospitalized or require medical treatment for injuries sustained while doing their duties will be entitled to reimburse medical costs up to P200,000. /ee