SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
The House of Representatives has approved on second reading House Bill 6743 seeking to encourage volunteerism during emergencies by protecting volunteers from liability.
The bill declares that the inculcation of volunteerism as a way of life rekindles in every Filipino the time-honored tradition of bayanihan to foster social justice, solidarity and sustainable development. Towards this end, the State shall encourage individuals to volunteer and provide reasonable assistance during emergencies by protecting them from liability.
The bill defines a volunteer as "an individual or group who provides reasonable assistance and contributes time, service, and resources in an emergency situation and who does not receive compensation for rendering volunteer service."
The bill provides that no volunteer shall be liable for harm caused by an act or omission if the volunteer was acting in an emergency situation at the scene of an accident.
A volunteer is also not liable if he was properly licensed, certified, or authorized by appropriate authorities, either government entities or non-government organizations, for the activities undertaken in an emergency at the time of the act of omission.
Lastly, the volunteer is not liable if the harm was not 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.
The liability protection for volunteers under the Act shall not apply if the misconduct constitutes a crime under the Revised Penal Code or an offense in any special penal law.
Secondly, if the misconduct was performed by the volunteer under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any dangerous drug at the time of the act or omission.
Thirdly, if the volunteers are from business organizations that employ volunteers for pecuniary purposes.
And fourth, if the volunteers receive compensation for volunteering at a non-profit organization. However, the non- profit organization shall not be liable if it exercised due diligence in the selection and supervision of the volunteer.
The bill is authored by Reps. Alfred Vargas (5th District, Quezon City), John Marvin Nieto (3rd District, Manila), Edward Vera Perez Maceda (4th District, Manila), Delphine Gan Lee (Partylist, AGRI), Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado (1st District, Bulacan), Leo Rafael Cueva (2nd District, Negros Occidental), Manuel Jose Dalipe (2nd District, Zamboanga City), Lorna Silverio (3rd District, Bulacan), Maria Valentina Plaza (1st District, Agusan del Sur), Gloria Labdlabad (2nd District, Zamboanga del Norte), Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City), Teodoro Montoro (Party-List, AAENSO), Ma. Lourdes Acosta-Alba (1st District, Bukidnon), Florida Robes (Lone District, San Jose Del Monte City), and Rosanna Vergara (3rd District, Nueva Ecija). / EAG