Villar calls for free freight services for relief ops | Inquirer News

Villar calls for free freight services for relief ops

/ 05:46 PM November 17, 2023

Camille Villar free freight services relief

Rep. Camille A. Villar (File photo from her Facebook page)

MANILA, Philippines — Groups and organizations doing relief operations in times of calamities should be given free freight services to ensure the quick transport of emergency donated goods, Deputy Speaker Camille Villar said on Friday.

In a statement, Villar said giving free freight services for groups would lessen the time needed to transport essential goods and, on a larger scale, help relief and rehabilitation efforts in areas hit by calamities like typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.


“It is utterly challenging for impacted individuals to bounce back from calamities, and the most immediate support that they can get should not go unhampered by freight cost consequences,” she said.


“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 costs,” she added.

The said proposal was contained in House Bill No. 9354 or the proposed Free Transportation of Relief Goods Act, which will mandate agencies involved in disaster-relief operations like the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the Department of Transportation (DOTr), and all freight companies to provide free services.

However, this would only cover organizations registered under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

NDRRMC will be tasked to provide security and traffic management assistance to the relief operations.

The DOTr, through the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) would be the implementing agencies of the proposed measure.

“These common carriers, freight forwarders, and other similar entities are mandated to deliver goods and services for free to areas where they operate,” Villar’s bill, filed last September 27, stated.


“When the area is not accessible, such relief goods shall be sent to or delivered to the nearest LGU (local government unit) and shall be consigned to the local chief executive,” it added.

Villar said this would also strengthen the “spirit of bayanihan among Filipinos” as essential goods would be immediately provided to people who need them.

“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, maging ito man ay bagyo, lindol, baha o pagsabog ng bulkan,” Villar said.

(In times of calamity, the government and the private sector must help each other to ensure the fast and immediate delivery of relief goods and donations to help families affected by whatever disaster, whether it is typhoons, earthquakes, floods, or volcanic eruptions.)

“Sa sama-sama nating aksyon, masisiguro natin na magiging maayos ang lagay ng mga taong nangangailangan ng ating tulong. Our collective action will not only save their lives, but also help them rise up and recover,” she added.

(With our collective action, we can ensure that people needing our help during calamities would be in a better state.)

This is not the first time that a bill of this kind has been filed.  In 2019, during the 18th Congress, Senator Lito Lapid submitted Senate Bill No. 1151 to remove the burden of freight expenses from organizations doing relief operations.

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The bill, however, was not acted upon as Congress and the Executive branch turned its attention to the COVID-19 pandemic a few months later.

TAGS: Camille Villar, freight, relief, Villar

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