MANILA, Philippines – Free freight services should be provided to groups and organizations conducting disaster relief efforts to ensure the quick transportation of donated goods, Vice President Camille Villar said on Friday.
In a statement, Villar said that providing groups with free freight services would reduce the time it takes to transport essential goods and, on a larger scale, help with humanitarian and rehabilitation efforts in areas affected by disasters such as typhoons, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
“Recovering from disasters is a huge challenge for those affected, and the most immediate support they can get should not go unimpeded by transport cost implications,” she said.
“It would be a form of commitment and willingness to help on the part of shipping companies and carriers to help affected communities in times of natural disasters by waiving transportation costs,” she added.
The said proposal is included in House Bill 9354 or the proposed Free Transportation of Relief Goods Act, which will authorize agencies involved in disaster relief operations such as the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and the National Reduction and Management Council Disaster Risk Management (NDRRMC), Department of Transportation (DOTr) and all transportation companies to provide free services.
However, this would only apply to organizations registered with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
The NDRRMC will be tasked with providing safety and traffic management assistance as part of the relief effort.
The implementing agencies of the proposed measure will be the DOTr, through the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), the Maritime Industries Authority (MARINA), and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
“These common carriers, freight forwarders and other similar entities are authorized to provide goods and services free of charge to the areas in which they operate,” reads Villar’s bill filed on September 27 last year.
“If there is no access to the area, aid will be sent or delivered to the nearest local government unit and transferred to local authorities,” he added.
Villar said it will also strengthen the “spirit of bayanihan among Filipinos” as essential goods will be immediately delivered to those who need them.
“In times of disaster, it is important that the government and the private sector work together to ensure the rapid and immediate delivery of humanitarian aid and donations to help families affected by any disaster, whether it be typhoons, earthquakes, floods or volcanic eruptions. Villar said.
(In times of disaster, the government and the private sector must help each other to ensure the rapid and immediate delivery of humanitarian aid and donations to help families affected by any disaster, whether it be typhoons, earthquakes, floods or volcanic eruptions.)
“Thanks to our joint actions, we can improve the situation of people who need our help. Our joint action will not only save their lives, but also help them recover and recover,” she added.
(By working together, we can ensure that those who need our help during disasters will be better off.)
This is not the first time such a bill has been submitted. In 2019, during the 18th Congress, Senator Lito Lapid submitted Senate Bill No. 1151 aimed at removing the burden of transportation costs from organizations conducting aid operations.
However, the bill was not considered because several months later, Congress and the executive branch turned their attention to the Covid-19 pandemic.