Passengers may soon be able to use sanitary facilities and restrooms in land transportation terminals for free.
The proposal embodied in House Bill 725 already elicited the approval of the Senate and has been transmitted to Malacanang for the approval and signature of President Rodrigo Duterte.
The late Rep. Maximo Dalog of Mountain Province is the principal author of HB 725 which seeks to prohibit the collection of fees from passengers for the use of sanitary facilities located in land transportation terminals, stations, stops, and rest areas.
The bill declares that the State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them.
In this regard, the right of every establishment to a fair return of investment carries with it a corresponding responsibility to provide adequate facilities for the comfort of their clientele.
To fulfill this, the bill provides that the State shall require the owners, operators, and administrators of land transport terminals, stations, stops, and rest areas to provide and maintain suitable and clean sanitary facilities, free of charge to passengers and travelers.
The bill refers to sanitary facilities as a set of facilities that include at least a combination of comfort room, hand washing, and drinking facilities.
Under the bill, it shall be unlawful for the owners, operators, and administrators of land transport terminals, stations, stops, and rest areas to collect fees from passengers for the use of regular sanitary facilities.
The concerned passenger must show the paid bus ticket for the day to avail of the free use of the sanitary facility.
The provisions of the Act shall not apply to separate, well-appointed, or deluxe sanitary facilities that are operated solely for commercial purposes and for the convenience of passengers who require and prefer such facilities within land transport terminals, stations, stops, or rest areas.
Any owner, operator, or administrator of land transport terminals, stations, stops or rest areas who violates the prohibition under the Act shall be liable for a PHP5,000 fine.
Five years after the effectivity of the Act, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) shall review the applicability and enforcement of the fine and make the necessary adjustments, subject to the approval of the Secretary of Transportation.
The DOTr and the LTFRB, shall within 60 days from the effectivity of the Act, jointly promulgate the necessary implementing rules and regulations to carry out the provisions of the Act.
In the explanatory note of his bill, Dalog said Presidential Decree No. 856, otherwise known as the ‘Code on Sanitation’, states as one of its basis, the need of providing for an adequate number of rest areas for passengers of both public and private conveyances plying the highways to cater to the comfort and personal convenience and needs of travelers.
According to Dalog, the maintenance of rest areas and service facilities is part of the services for human care of common carriers, hence additional payment should not be imposed on travelers.
The collection of fees is an added burden to the riding public, making travel within the country more expensive, according to Dalog in his explanatory note of HB 725.
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