New law requires free Wi-Fi, free access to clean restrooms in transport terminals
MANILA, Philippines – A new law requires transportation terminals, stations, stops, rest areas, and Roll-On-Roll-Off (RO-RO) terminals to provide free Wi-Fi; separate restrooms for males, females, and persons with disabilities; and diaper-changing areas.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law Republic Act No 11311 on April 17. Malacañang made the law publicly available on Wednesday, June 19.
The new measure also requires that comfort rooms in these terminals have tissue paper, soap, and a hand dryer, among other amenities.
Section 3 of the law orders administrators, owners, and operators of land transporation terminals and stations to provide free internet.
Another section requires the provision of at least one lactation center in the facility, separate from the sanitary areas. The lactation centers must fulfill all the standards stated in the Expanded Breast Feeding Promotion Act (Republic Act No 7600).
They are also supposed to provide sanitary facilities that fulfill the following requirements:
- Separate restrooms for male and female passengers, and persons with disabilities (PWDs)
- Adequate ventilation and lighting
- Safe, adequate, and running water supply
- Flush system
- Toilet seat with cover
- Lavatory with toilet paper, mirror, soap, hand dryer, and door lock
- Waste bin
- Exclusive space for diaper-changing
No fees. Terminal station management cannot impose fees on passengers who wish to use the sanitary facilities.
Payment can only demanded for "deluxe" restrooms operated for commercial purposes.
What if terminals, stations don't comply? If owners and administrators of the transport stations fail to provide sanitary facilities as specified by the law, they will be fined P5,000 every day the violation persists.
It's another P5,000 fine per day if they lack lactation areas. Imposition of fees for the facilities will also lead to a P5,000 daily fine.
Senator Grace Poe, the sponsor of the Senate bill version of the law, said domestic tourism expenditures reached P2.108 billion in 2016.
The House of Representatives' bill, House Bill No 725, was principally authored by the late Mountain Province Representative Maximo Dalog. – Rappler.com
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