MANILA, Philippines — Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has reintroduced a measure seeking to protect licensed and qualified volunteers from liability in the performance of their noble duties and functions in times of emergency situations, including disasters.
In filing Senate Bill (SB) No. 1285, De Lima said the government should provide a conducive and enabling legal environment for volunteers by placing mechanisms that will protect their rights and award them with privileges for their contribution to society.
“These volunteers deserve to be protected and be given due recognition because of their contribution to society, especially in crisis situations,” she added.
“By setting up a conducive and enabling legal environment for volunteers, it is hoped that this will encourage more volunteers to participate and to take an active role in nation-building,” she added.
While there are existing laws promoting volunteerism in the country, the lady Senator from Bicol explained that none of these legislations ensure specific protection for qualified and registered volunteers responding to disasters and emergencies.
“The current body of legislation does not provide safeguards which can protect the volunteers from liability which may range from fines, detention and even criminal liability, depending on the gravity of the act or omission done by the volunteer in responding to an emergency situation,” she said.
Under De Lima’s measure, no volunteer shall be liable for harm caused by an act or omission if he/she was acting in an emergency, was properly licensed or accredited, acted within the scope of his/her responsibilities, and acted under orders or direction of appropriate government authority. (STACY ANG/IAMIGO/Currentph.com)