Bill sets ‘new normal’ policies

DEPUTY Speaker and Antique Rep. Loren Legardais urging Congress to pass immediately a bill that introduces new normal policies to be enforced in the workplace and public places.

Legarda is one of the authors of House Bill 6623 or the New Normal for the Workplace and Public Spaces Act of 2020.

Other authors are Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, Deputy Speaker Luis RaymundVillafuerte, Deputy Speaker Paolo Duterte and ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Go Yap.

The new normal scheme is being prepared amid expectation of the eventual ending of community quarantine adopted to combat the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The bill recognizes the need for the establishment of mechanisms that will facilitate the resumption of economic and social activities without sacrificing the health and well-being of the Filipino people, while also subscribing to global development frameworks, such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

HB 6623 seeks to establish safety measures and protocols in place as the country adjusts to the “new normal” in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It contains universal and mandatory guidelines, such as wearing of masks in public places and workplaces, physical and social distancing, as well as mandatory temperature checks in all closed and semi-closed areas. 

It also provides for the monitoring of private workplaces, management of public transportation, and monitoring of schools and learning institutions.   

Legarda will ensure that the bill integrates gender and social equity considerations, such as providing public reproductive health care services, strengthening capacity of maternal health clinics and midwives, and supporting women’s needs in the procurement of adequate protective gear and equity in wages. 

Legarda said that the Subcommittee will examine HB 6623 so as to ensure that it is not too prescriptive, it is environmentally-friendly, and that reasonable flexibilities are provided. 

“We should never go back to our old ways that brought us this COVID-19 crisis. We should start preparing ourselves and changing our mindset and behavior towards a healthier, more sustainable, and better new normal,” Legarda said.