Health protocols to stay in new normal 

WHILE waiting for the vaccine, the wearing of face mask and social distancing will soon be part of daily life amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) once a bill passed by the House of Representatives becomes law.

Such safety measures and other health protocols are contained in House Bill 6884 which was approved on third and final reading in the House of Representatives.

The measure was sponsored by Deputy Speaker and Antique Rep. Loren Legarda. Principal authors of the bill include House leaders led by Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Majority Leader Martin Romualdez.

Romualdez, president of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats, said the bill aims to prepare and educate Filipinos for life after COVID-19 through new norms of social or physical distancing and other satety measures in government private offices, schools, commercial establishments and other public places.

"As soon as we adapt to the new  normal, business can resume operations and workers can go back to their jobs without fear of contracting the dreaded coronavirus. Through physical distancing and other stringent  satety and health protocols, we can also keep our families safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. We have no choice but to adapt to the new noarmal. The soonest time possible, the better," Romualdez said..

All the 245 solons present during the virtual and regular Monday session voted in favor of the measure or the Better Normal for the Workplance, Communities and Public Spaces Act of 2020.

Under the measure, wearing of face mask in public and workplaces is mandatory.

Social distancing or one-meter physical distancing between individuals should also be observed violation of which is penalized with fines and penalties like a two-month jail term.

When entering a building or any offices, temperature must be checked and owners of the building must provide spaces for washing hands.

Legarda expressed optimism that the proposed measure when passed into law will significantly strengthen the country’s most critical and universal mandates on health, safety, and sustainable development, and provide guidelines to be set by concerned government agencies within their respective sectors.

“This measure will help improve our policies and actions in the context of the pandemic, ranging from health, environment, education, agriculture, labor and industrial sector, tourism, arts and culture and how we can all adapt and adjust to the current situation of our society. This will be an effective guide for us as we transition to a better normal and lead safe and healthy lives in light of this ongoing pandemic,” Legarda said.

The bill also seeks to protect the vulnerable sectors of society not only from the affliction of COVID-19, but also by helping them cope with the changes brought about by the pandemic.

With Ryan Ponce Pacpaco