Press Release
March 12, 2019

Committee report: Protect volunteer workers from liability

The Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development and the Committee on Justice and Human Rights have insisted volunteer workers need immunity from liability in the performance of their duties in times of emergency situations.

Senate Bill 2200 under Committee Report 624, or the "Emergency Volunteer Protection Act of 2019," declares that it is the policy of the State "to 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."

Aside from the Committees on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development and Justice and Human Rights, the report was also prepared by the Committees on Local Government, Ways and Means, and Finance.

It was submitted for plenary considerations last February 4, 2019.

Under the measure, a volunteer "properly licensed, certified or authorized" either by government entities, non-government organizations or the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) should not be held liable for harm caused by an act or omission done in performance of his or her duties or functions.

The measure proposes that no volunteer shall be liable if he or she acted within the scope of his or her responsibilities; acted under orders or direction of appropriate government authority; or acted in an emergency situations; and that the harm was not caused by willful or criminal misconduct, gross negligence, reckless misconduct, or conscious, flagrant indifference to the rights or safety of the individual harmed by the volunteer.

The liability protection for volunteers under this Act shall not apply to misconduct that constitutes a crime or was performed under the influence of intoxicating alcohol or any dangerous drug at the time of the misconduct.

Sen. Leila de Lima, chair of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, said there is a need to put in place mechanisms that would protect volunteers from liability from fines, detention and even criminal suit.

"These volunteers deserve to be protected and be given due recognition because of their contribution to society, especially in crisis situations," she said.

"By setting up a conducive and enabling legal environment for volunteers, it is hoped that this will entice more volunteers to participate and to take an active role in nation-building," she added.

The measure also provides for the mandatory insurance granted to all volunteers by the PNVSCA, such as disability benefits of P350,000 when they suffer total or partial disability as a result of any injury sustained during performance of duty.

Volunteers who died in the line of duty shall be given a death benefit of P300,000 and those who shall be hospitalized or be required medical attendance for injuries sustained while in the performance of duty shall be entitled to a reimbursement of actual medical costs up to P200,000.

SBN 2200 is in substitution of Senate Bill Nos. 1074, 1418 and 2013 authored by Sens. JV Ejercito, Richard Gordon and De Lima, respectively.

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