Davao City 1st District Representative Paolo Duterte (left) and Benguet Representative Eric Yap. (PNA file photo)

DAVAO CITY - Davao City 1st District Rep. Paolo Duterte and Benguet Rep. Eric Yap have filed a measure that would mandate the government to adopt a streamlined relief system that is "secured, expedient, and responsive" to the needs of disaster victims.

In a statement Friday, the lawmakers deemed House of Representatives Bill 4809 necessary, as they noted that the country is nestled in the Pacific Ring of Fire and is hit by at least 20 destructive typhoons every year.

House Bill 4809 aims to provide free freight services to duly registered relief organizations for the transportation of emergency relief goods and donated articles to areas that are declared under a state of calamity by the President or by the local government units.

“This is critical given that the country’s geography is an archipelago, mainly requiring common carriers, freight forwarders, freight companies, and other logistics companies to collect, sort, store, transport, and deliver relief goods, including those donated by international and local donors to areas declared in a state of calamity in the most economical, reliable, speedy and secured manner,” Duterte said in a statement.

The proposed measure, also known as the Relief Goods Free Transportation Act, seeks to strengthen existing mechanisms that will facilitate quick responses to the demands and needs during disasters and emergencies.

According to Duterte and Yap, the act also states that common carriers, freight forwarders, and similar entities are mandated to deliver goods and services free of charge to areas where they operate.

They said that when the area is not accessible, the relief goods shall be sent or delivered to the nearest local government unit and shall be consigned to the concerned local chief executive.

Yap, on the other hand, noted that according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), nearly half a trillion pesos were lost in the national economy due to the events and disasters from 2010 to 2019.

The Office of Civil Defense and the Department of Transportation, through the Civil Aeronautics Board, Maritime Industry Authority, and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, would be tasked to implement the provisions of the Act, as well as monitor the compliance of freight service companies. (PNA)