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Dapat exempted sa liability: De Lima says volunteers need legal protection

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Volunteers deserve to be protected and be given due recognition because of their contribution to society, especially in crisis situations.

Senator Leila de Lima stressed this on Thursday as she reintroduced a bill which seeks to protect licensed and qualified volunteers from liability in the performance of their duties in times of emergency situations.

In filing Senate Bill (SB) No. 1285, she 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.

“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,” de Lima said.

While there are existing laws promoting volunteerism in the country, she said 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 SBN 1285, no volunteer should be liable for harm caused by an act or omission if he/she was acting in an emergency situation such as in manmade or natural disasters.

De Lima said to be exempted from liability, volunteers must be properly licensed, certified or authorized by the appropriate government authorities or accredited by and registered with the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency prior to deployment.

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