House approves ‘Better Normal Bill’ on 3rd reading
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives on Monday approved on third and final reading the bill which makes several measures such as the wearing of face masks in public spaces and workplaces and observance of physical and social distancing mandatory as the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.
With 242 affirmative votes, the lower chamber approved House Bill No. 6864 or “An Act Establishing Public Health and Environmental Standards and Safeguards for the Better Normal in the Workplace, Public Spaces and Communities Toward a Sustainable Recovery from the Coronavirus Disease-19 Pandemic.”
Under the bill, the general public shall wear face masks, earloop masks, indigenous, reusable or do-it-yourself masks, face shields, handkerchiefs, or such other protective material when in the workplace, public places, and communities to prevent the spread of the virus.
Further, owners, managers, or administrators of public spaces and workplaces shall likewise establish handwashing facilities or sanitizing stations and shall monitor the temperature of those visiting their respective areas.
Physical distancing of at least one meter between individuals shall also be strictly observed whenever in public spaces and in the workplace, the bill states.
For public transportation, passengers shall be required to sanitize their hands prior to boarding the vehicle, shall be seated a seat apart and wear face masks while inside the vehicle.
“Contact-less” payment mechanisms shall also be promoted.
For the education sector, the Department of Education shall develop, implement and promote a flexible learning program for K-12 students in all public and private schools, taking into consideration the capability of the school and its teachers in delivering such program, and the accessibility of learning materials, either physical or electronic, to the students.
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) shall likewise monitor the implementation of flexible learning programs for all higher education institutions, state universities and colleges (SUCs) and local colleges and universities (LCUs).
For private commercial and industrial workspaces, all private commercial, industrial, and other forms of businesses shall be required to submit a Management Plan to the concerned LGU which shall determine the said business’s compliance with the necessary safeguards and the Universal Safety Measures in the bill. [ac]
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