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Tolentino bill gives AFP power to dragoon professionals during calamities

Senator Francis Tolentino filed a bill requiring the mandatory service of professionals, such as doctors, nurses, and engineers, in rehabilitation efforts in the aftermath of calamities and disasters.

Tolentino explained that his proposed Senate Bill 1129 or the Civil Conscription Act would enable communities to quickly respond to calamities with a ready body of professionals who could be called upon to render aid in emergency situations.

“We must go beyond the ‘duck, cover and hold’ stage. We should not just focus on the immediate rescue operations but give priority to the rehabilitation stage following a calamity,” he said in a Tuesday privilege speech in which he pushed for the passage of the bill.

The series of strong earthquakes that struck Mindanao recently, with thousands of families displaced and widespread property and infrastructure damage, highlighted the need for structural engineers and psychological trauma specialists.

“I rise today, urging you all that we must exert all efforts to address against these calamities, both natural and man-made, to save not only our lives but that of our children and the future generations,” he said.

Tolentino said that under his bill, the Armed Forces of the Philippines would have the power to compel professionals, through a system of recruitment and for a limited period, to render personal service in times of disasters and calamities.

Under the bill, professionals may be called upon by the AFP to render mandatory service through its Technical and Administrative Service.

The Defense secretary will be the main implementor of the Act.

The Department of National Defense, in consultation with the AFP and the Professional Regulation Commission, shall promulgate the rules and regulations to implement the Act. — DVM, GMA News