Bangkok, Jan 22 (efe-epa).- The Philippines is promoting through a law a new covid-safe way of greeting to reduce human contacts and curb the spread of diseases, more so the coronavirus pandemic.
The bill, which was approved by the House of Representatives earlier this week and needs Senate approval before President Rodrigo Duterte signs it into law, proposes an alternative to the usual handshake to reduce virus transmission.
If approved, the law will establish a new way of greeting each other by “the simple act of gracefully laying one’s palm of the right hand at the center of the chest while simultaneously lowering the head, with eyes either closed or cast down,” according to the Philippines News Agency.
The proposed way greeting is called “Bating Filipino.”
The House unanimously voted in favor of the bill on Tuesday with 212 lawmakers approving it and only one vote against it.
However, it does not establish any punishment for whoever opts for other forms of greeting.
PNA said the bill covers all Filipino citizens and all other persons in the country.
It mandates all government agencies and instrumentalities to allocate resources for information dissemination and encourage the practice of the new gesture, according to the state-run news agency.
Fernando Bayani, the lawmaker who has been promoting the bill for months, said the traditional way of greeting by handshakes was well-intended and innocent but transmitted diseases and was a risk to human health.
Fernando said the proposed gesture of placing the hand over the chest was a universal gesture of good faith coming from the heart, while a nod with the head is a traditional Filipino gesture of respect.
The Philippines, with a population of 106 million people, is the second-most affected country by Covid-19 in Southeast Asia. It has nearly 510,000 cases and more than 10,000 related deaths.
The archipelago plans to start its vaccination campaign against the Covid-19 from February after the first shipments of vaccine doses from Sinovac and Pfizer. EFE-EPA