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HOUSE APPROVES ‘BETTER NORMAL’ BILL

A measure establishing public health and safety standards to stem the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) got a unanimous vote during its third and final reading at the House of Representatives.

The chamber passed House Bill 6864, otherwise known as the proposed “Better normal for the Workplace, Communities and Public Places Act”, with 242 affirmative votes, zero negative votes, and no abstention.

Among the universal health and safety measures proposed in the bill include the mandatory wearing of masks and observance of physical distancing of at least one meter in public places.

The bill seeks to impose nationwide testing drive, contact-tracing systems and establishment of government-operated quarantine facilities.

It also seeks to impose mandatory temperature checks, availability of handwashing and sanitizing stations in public areas, nationwide testing drive, contact-tracing systems and establishment of government-operated quarantine facilities, among others.

Local government units shall regulate public gatherings as well as the flow of people in government-managed public spaces, while privately-organized gatherings in privately-managed spaces shall comply with the universal and mandatory safety measures.

For the management of public transportation, mandatory safety measures shall be imposed in terminals, interiors of public utility vehicles, mass transportation and app-based transport network services.

The bill states that passengers shall be seated one seat apart and the use of contactless payment mechanisms shall be imposed.

The bill promotes a flexible learning program to limit physical contact among the school population.

The bill promotes a flexible learning program to limit physical contact among the school population.

It requires firms to submit a workplace management plan determining their compliance with the necessary safeguards and the universal safety measures provided in the proposed law. 

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