By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to provide free freight services to relief organizations in the transportation of relief goods and donated articles to calamity-stricken areas.
A total of 171 House members voted in favor of House Bill 9087, which guarantees the reliable, speedy, and free transportation of relief goods during calamities and disasters. The bill was principally authored by San Jose del Monte City Rep. Florida Robes.
Robes said the bill seeks to ensure that adequate relief assistance is given to individuals and communities heavily affected by the disaster.
“As humans can only last few days without food and water, relief operations are important. In this case, response mechanisms and guidelines must be geared towards saving lives in the immediate aftermath of any disaster,” she said.
Under House Bill 9087 or the “Relief Goods Free Transportation Act”, the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD), in coordination with the Philippine Postal Corporation (PPC) and all freight companies, common carriers, private carriers, freight forwarders, and other companies providing logistic services in the Philippines, to grant free freight services to duly registered relief organizations in the transportation of emergency relief goods and donated articles to areas declared to be in a state of calamity.
Robes said common carriers, freight forwarders, and other similar entities shall deliver goods and services for free to areas where they operate.
“When the area is not accessible, such relief goods shall be sent or delivered to the nearest LGU and consigned to the concerned local chief executive,” she said.
The bill mandates the the Law and Order Cluster of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) to provide security and traffic management assistance to the Response Cluster’s operations to facilitate the speedy movement of people, goods and equipment to the affected population and responding agencies.