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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

Legislated protection for volunteers pushed
05 October 2017 10:15:21 AM

The House committee on people’s participation chaired by Rep. Maria Valentina Plaza (1st District, Agusan del Sur) approved a draft substitute bill which encourages volunteers to provide assistance during emergencies.

Unnumbered bill titled “An Act Encouraging Volunteerism During Emergencies By Protecting Volunteers From Liability” substitutes for HB Nos. 5842, 6120, 6237 and 6323 introduced by Reps. Alfredo Vargas III, John Marvin “Yul Servo” Nieto and Edward Vera Perez Maceda; Delphine Gan Lee; and Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado, respectively.

As stated in the measure, no volunteer shall be liable for harm caused by an act or omission if the volunteer was acting in an emergency or at the scene of an accident at the time of the act or omission.

The requirement is for the volunteer to be properly licensed, certified, or authorized by the appropriate authorities, either government entities or non-government organizations for the activities undertaken in an emergency at the time of the act or omission.

The harm, if any, should not have been caused by willful or criminal misconduct, gross negligence, reckless misconduct, or a conscious, flagrant indifference to the rights or safety of the individual harmed by the volunteer.

Exceptions to the liability protection for volunteers are as follows:

* Misconduct that constitutes a crime under the Revised Penal Code or an offense in any special penal law;

* The misconduct was performed under the influence of intoxicating alcohol or any dangerous drug at the time of the act;

* Volunteers of business organizations that employ volunteers for pecuniary purposes, including the business or organization itself; and

* Volunteers who receive compensation for volunteering at a non-profit organization, provided that the non-profit organization shall not be liable if it exercised due diligence in the selection and supervision of the volunteer. / MVIP