With 170 affirmative votes, the House of Representatives unanimously approved on third and final reading House Bill No. 5070, to be known as the “Relief Goods Free Transportation Act,” which seeks to provide for free freight cost in the delivery of relief goods to calamity stricken areas.
The measure, principally authored by Rep. Florida Robes (Lone District, San Jose del Monte City), seeks to ensure that adequate and timely relief assistance will be given to individuals and communities most devastated by a calamity.
The bill provides that the Office of 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, shall provide free freight services to allow immediate relief to victims of natural or man-made disasters when government resources are unavailable or insufficient. In the event that the area is not accessible, such relief goods shall be sent or delivered to the nearest local government unit and consigned to the concerned local chief executive.
Additionally, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) shall be directed to provide security and traffic management assistance to the Response Cluster’s operations to ensure the speedy transport of people, goods and equipment to the affected communities.
Under the bill, common carriers refer to persons, corporations, firms or associations offering their services to the public and engaged in the business of carrying or transporting passengers or goods or both, by land, water, or air, for compensation.
Freight companies refer to companies that specialize in the moving or transporting of freight or cargo from one place to another, while freight forwarders are companies that organize and bring shipments from the manufacturer or producer to its final point of distribution. Lastly, private carriers refer to entities that undertake the delivery of passenger or goods for compensation, without being engaged in the business of carrying as a public employment.
Other authors of the bill are Reps. Lucy Torres Gomez (4th District, Leyte), Romeo Momo Sr. (Party-list, CWS), Afred Vargas (5th District, Quezon City), John Reynald Tiangco (Lone District, Navotas City), Juliet Marie de Leon Ferrer (4th District, Negros Occidental), Ansarrudin Abdul Malik Adiong (1st District, Lanao del Sur), Micaela Violago (2nd District, Nueva Ecija) and Vicente “Ching” Veloso (3rd District, Leyte).