By Jose Cielito Reganit
MANILA – Deputy Speaker and Las Piñas Rep. Camille Villar has filed a measure seeking to provide free freight services in the transportation of emergency goods and donated articles to areas under a state of calamity.
In a statement on Friday, Villar said House Bill No. 9345 ensures that the most immediate support that individuals impacted by calamities would not be hampered by freight cost consequences.
“Allowing freight forwarders, common and private carriers, and other companies to provide logistic services free of charge to relief organizations that transport relief goods and donations would also be a humanitarian act, as it would be a form of commitment and willingness to help on the part of freight companies and carriers to help the affected communities in times of calamities by foregoing freight cost,” Villar said.
“The proposed measure would also strengthen the spirit of bayanihan (communal unity) among Filipinos in that the immediate needs of people affected by such catastrophic events are promptly provided – both by the government and the private sector partners – in the most economical, reliable, speedy, and secured manner,” she added.
If passed into law, HB 9345, or the proposed Free Transportation of Relief Goods Act, would mandate the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD), the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), and the Department of Transportation (DOTr), in coordination with the Philippine Postal Corporation (PPC) and all freight companies, common carriers, private carriers, freight forwarders and other companies that offer logistic services “to give freight services at no cost to duly registered relief organizations recognized by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) which are involved in the transportation of emergency relief goods and donated articles to areas that have been placed under a state of calamity by the President or the local government unit (LGU) concerned.”
It likewise provides that shipping auxiliary costs such as arrastre services, pilotage, and other port charges that are regularly passed on to customers shall be free of charge.
The NDRRMC will be tasked to provide security and traffic management assistance to the relief operations to facilitate the speedy movement of people, goods and equipment to the affected population and responding agencies.
The implementing agencies of the proposed measure would be the DOTr, through the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
“Sa panahon ng kalamidad, mahalagang magtulungan ang pamahalaan at ang pribadong sektor sa pagsisiguro na mabilis at agarang makararating ang mga relief goods at donasyon para matulungan ang mga pamilyang nasalanta ng anumang disaster (In time of calamity, it is important for the government and the private sector to ensure the speedy and immediate delivery of relief goods and donations to help the families affected by any kind of disaster),” Villar said.
“Sa sama-sama nating aksyon, masisiguro natin na magiging maayos ang lagay ng mga taong nangangailangan ng ating tulong (With our collective action, we can ensure that the conditions of those who needed our aid will be alleviated). Our collective action will not only save their lives, but also help them rise up and recover,” she added. (PNA)