Press Release
September 29, 2022


Senate Deputy Majority Leader Mark A. Villar on Wednesday, 28 September 2022 filed a bill seeking to institutionalize death benefits for community disaster personnel deployed during disasters.

Senate Bill No. 1354 or the "Disaster Personnel Death Benefit Act" aims to properly compensate the families of rescuers who died during their deployment in responding to disasters.

"In every disaster, the lives of our rescuers and volunteers will always be at risk. No amount of compensation will be ever sufficient for the families left behind in case of loss of life during the performance of their duties. The bravery and heroism of these selfless individuals should be duly recognized," Senator Villar said in a statement.

On September 25, 2022, Typhoon Karding hit the Philippines bringing intense winds and heavy rains to Central Luzon affecting neighboring provinces such as north and south Luzon including Metro Manila.

According to the report from the Bulacan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), five (5) rescuers deployed for a rescue operation died in a flash flood in Barangay Kamias, Municipality of San Miguel. The five fallen rescuers were identified as George Agustin, Troy Justin Agustin, Marby Bartolome, Jerson Resurreccion, and Narciso Calayag.

"I am deeply saddened to know that we lost five good men during the onslaught of Super Typhoon Karding, words are not enough to express my grief. We never want any life to be sacrificed in the name of duty, I sincerely thank and honor them. Their heroism, courage, and bravery will live in our memory forever", Senator Villar said.

Following the death of these selfless and courageous rescuers, Villar filed this bill so assistance must be provided to the family of the deceased rescuers while performing their duty in responding to disaster, calamity, and emergencies.

Villar explained that this bill seeks to institutionalize the death benefits of rescuers to the surviving family regardless of their status of government employment, whether regular, casual, contractual, job order, or on voluntary work.

"I was surprised knowing that these rescuers were casual workers even though serving in the government. We have to do something about this current situation of our rescuers. Sila ang maaasahan natin sa pagresponde sa mga kalamidad at kaagapay ng gobyerno sa pagsisiguro na ligtas ang mga mamamayan, kaya dapat sila ay protektado at hindi natin sila dapat biguin." Senator Mark Villar added.

Once passed into law, the amount equivalent to one-half (½) month of the last salary multiplied by the number of years of service of the community disaster personnel, but shall not be less than One Hundred Thousand Pesos (Php 100,000.00) shall be given to the surviving family of the deceased community disaster personnel.

"As a country who has suffered calamity and being one of the most disaster-prone countries, this case only highlights the need to have a proactive disaster preparedness response to minimize loss of life, property damage, and economic losses caused by natural disasters", Villar ended.

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