Senate Deputy Majority Leader Mark A. Villar wants to institutionalize death benefits for personnel of disaster agencies who will die while in the performance of their duty.
Senate Bill No. 1354 or the “Disaster Personnel Death Benefit Act,” filed by Villar last Wednesday intends 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,” Villar said.
“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,” he added.
Villar said his proposed measure 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 iisituation of our rescuers.
Last September 25, five rescuers deployed for a rescue operation died in a flash flood in Barangay Kamias, Municipality of San Miguel as supertyphoon Karding ravaged the country.
The five fallen rescuers were George Agustin, Troy Justin Agustin, Marby Bartolome, Jerson Resurreccion, and Narciso Calayag, all from the Bulacan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO).
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.
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 added.