House approves bill providing for free transport of relief goods 

Franco Luna - Philstar.com
House approves bill providing for free transport of relief goods 
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has reported significant structural damage affecting countless families in the wake of Typhoon Tisoy.
Greenpeace Philippines / Basilio Sepe

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives unanimously approved on Wednesday the Relief Goods Free Transportation Act on its third and final reading.

Authored by Rep. Florida Robes (San Jose del Monte), House Bill No. 5070 seeks to provide immediate relief for victims of natural or man-made disasters anywhere in the Philippines.

“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,” Robes said in filing the bill in May.

This measure mandates that the Office of the Civil Defense and the Philippine Postal Corporation together with all freight companies, carriers and forwarders carry out the transport of necessary relief goods to areas declared as being in a “state of calamity” by the president or a local government unit free of any charges. 

According to a Thursday press release, the bill also directs that the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) shall provide security and traffic management assistance to the Response Cluster's operations to ensure the speedy and untroubled transport of the aforementioned relief aid. 

Sen. Manuel “Lito” Lapid also filed a similar measure in November that materialized in the form of Senate Bill No. 1151.

“Transporting relief goods normally entails huge costs in freight, arrastre services, pilotage and other port charges,” he said in filing Senate Bill No. 1151. 

“Layunin nating siguraduhin na mas mapapabilis ang pagpapaabot ng tulong sa mga kababayan nating nasalanta ng bagyo o naging biktima ng iba pang sakuna tulad ng lindol o landslide."

(It's our goal to ensure that we expedite the process of getting help to our countrymen who were affected by typhoons or who fell victim to other calamities like earthquakes or landslides.) 

This comes as Typhoon Tisoy (international name Kammuri) slowly exits the Philippine Area of Responsibility and downgrades into a tropical depression. 

The torrential rains brought by "Tisoy" caused significant structural damage, affecting over 100,000 families according to data from the NDRRMC. 

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