Monday, February 07, 2005

Senate Bill No. 1866 - Volunteerism

Introduced by Senator Richard J. Gordon

It is the policy of the State to inculcate patriotism and nationalism, and encourage the involvement of the people in public, social and civic affairs that promote the welfare of the nation. As such, this proposed legislation seeks to encourage volunteerism, which is service without compensation in a non-profit organization or governmental entity, as a value that the State should recognize, promote and develop among its people. The spirit of volunteerism reflects the ability of a people to put the interests of the community before their own, and the foresight and maturity to appreciate the value of short-term sacrifice for long-term gain.
The positive experience of the people of Olongapo City regarding the conversion of the former Subic Naval Base into a self-sustaining industrial, commercial, financial and investment, and tourism and recreation center is a sterling example of the feat that volunteerism can achieve. The willingness to work for a cause and not just for compensation brings out the best in the Filipino, which must be encouraged and replicated, if the nation is to rise from the ashes of its present fiscal difficulty. However, the willingness of volunteers to offer their services is deterred by the potential legal liability that may arise out of their endeavor. As a result, many non-profit organizations and governmental entities, including voluntary associations, social service agencies, educational institutions, and other civic programs, are adversely affected.
The contribution of these non-profit organizations and governmental entities to specific communities, in particular, and the nation, in general, is thereby diminished, resulting in higher costs and fewer benefits than would be obtainable if volunteers were participating. Because of the problems created by the legitimate fears of volunteers about frivolous, arbitrary and capricious legal actions against them, the protection of volunteers through the clarification and limitation of liability risks that they assume is, therefore, an appropriate and important subject for legislation.
This bill also allows the grant of incentives to volunteers in the form of insurance for injury, sickness, disability, or death of the volunteer during his or her incumbency in a non-profit organization or governmental entity. It also allows the giving of a token of recognition after the accomplishment of volunteer work, to the volunteer, for services rendered in a non-profit organization or governmental entity . Such measures reflect the protection and importance that volunteers deserve for performing a service crucial to the development of the nation.

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