President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law requiring free internet services and clean sanitary facilities for commuters in transport terminals.
Duterte signed Republic Act 11311 on April 17, a copy of which was released by Malacañang on Wednesday.
Under the law, the Department of Information and Communications Technology, in coordination with the Department of Transportation and other concerned agencies, is mandated to ensure that free internet access is provided in the terminals.
The terminals must also have separate lactation stations for breastfeeding mothers.
The measure prohibits terminal operators from collecting fees from passengers for the use of restrooms. A passenger must only show the paid bus ticket for the day in order to avail of the free use of sanitary facilities.
The law, however, does not cover deluxe sanitary facilities that are operated for commercial purposes and for the convenience of passengers who prefer such facilities.
The owner, operator, or administrator of land transport terminals, stations, stops, rest areas and roll-on/roll-off terminals who does not comply with the standards for sanitary facilities will be fined in the amount of P5,000 each day of violation and another P5,000 each day of collecting fees from passengers for the use of sanitary facilities.
Another P5,000 each day of violation will also be imposed on operators or owners as penalty for their failure to provide breastfeeding stations.
The fines are subject to review every five years.
The DOTr, in coordination with the DICT, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, Department of Health, Philippine Ports Authority, and other concerned stakeholders, has 60 days from the law’s effectivity to issue the implementing rules and regulations.
Poe hails signing of new law
Senator Grace Poe, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media, on Wednesday hailed the passing of the new law.
"Now, travellers and commuters can rest in the thought that after hours in traffic, they can find an oasis in transportation terminals through free internet connection and clean comfort rooms," she said in a statement sent to reporters.
Poe also urged that the law be strictly implemented "to see to it that the internet provided is indeed free and that the restrooms can really give the travellers comfort and rest."
"A place is known by its people and their cleanliness. Let our transportation terminals leave a good impression to travellers towards their destination," she added. —KG, GMA News