Legarda Hails Approval of Better Normal Bill on Third Reading

August 10, 2020

Deputy Speaker and Antique Lone District Representative Loren Legarda today hailed the approval on third reading of House Bill No. 6864, also known as the “Better Normal for the Workplace, Communities and Public Spaces Act of 2020” by the House of Representatives. The bill seeks to establish safety measures and protocols in place as the country adjusts to the “new normal” in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Legarda, author and principal sponsor of House Bill 6864, 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.

Aside from enumerating the universal mandatory health and safety measures and protocols to ensure that the public is shielded and protected from viruses of such grand scale, the salient provisions of House Bill 6864 include the following:

1) The bill aims to foster a just and equitable transition to a climate-resilient, inclusive and sustainable future.

2) The bill further details the policies governing the management of public spaces and public transportation and the Better Normal for the education sector, e-governance, and in the workplaces to help stem the spread of the virus.

3) The bill strengthens the synergy between and among national government agencies, local government units and the private sector by defining their roles and responsibilities in the better normal.

4) The bill seeks to develop the country’s digital infrastructure through the National Broadband Plan of the Department of Information and Communications Technology.

5) The bill addresses issues on water supply, sanitation and waste management, which are key in containing the spread of virus.

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

7) The bill provides for a Sunset Clause, such that after its enactment, the law will be effective for three (3) years, or sooner upon official declaration that the pandemic caused by COVID-19 has already been eradicated. However, a proviso has been included to indicate that standards, protocols and other measures, which are not rendered useless or impractical by the eradication of COVID-19, shall continue to be implemented.

“We still have a long way to go in battling this health crisis. With the growing number of recorded cases and resurgence of infections in other countries, including the disturbing studies that the manner of COVID-19 transmission is evolving, we remain susceptible to the novel corona virus. I hope that the approval of this bill will educate and empower our people as we work together to diminish our present vulnerabilities and pursue a sustainable and resilient pandemic recovery,” Legarda concluded.#