Councilor Alvin Dizon, who authored the ordinance, said the idea of putting up infant-friendly facilities in public restrooms for women, men, and persons with disability (PWDs) is a sign of progress because it sends a strong message that society no longer expects that only mothers bear the responsibility of parenting.
AFP/File
Infant-friendly CRs now required
Mary Ruth R. Malinao (The Freeman) - December 15, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The Cebu City Council has approved an ordinance providing infant-friendly facilities in restrooms of both public and private establishments in the city.

Councilor Alvin Dizon, who authored the ordinance, said the idea of putting up infant-friendly facilities in public restrooms for women, men, and persons with disability (PWDs) is a sign of progress because it sends a strong message that society no longer expects that only mothers bear the responsibility of parenting.

"Indeed, a great way to close 2019 as we offer this measure to help narrow down gender imbalance in terms of child rearing," said Dizon.

He said public places and infrastructures must be accessible and must catch up with the responsibilities of modern parenting.

"The balance of parental responsibilities has continued to change and policies should be evolving to meet the needs of modern families," he said.

The ordinance stipulates that infant-friendly facilities shall include a baby changing station, table or other device suitable for changing the diaper of a child which must be physically safe, sanitary, and convenient; and a baby holder which is a device for securely holding a baby.

The ordinance requires all government buildings and private establishments to provide at least one “safe, sanitary, convenient and publicly accessible” unisex baby changing facility or changing station in men, women and PWD restrooms; and one baby holder for men, women or PWD restrooms.

The suitable weight capacity of the baby changing facility is 30 kilograms, while the baby holder is 20 kilograms. The ordinance also requires the government and private facilities to have a trash bin and a washing area.

The measure defines government or public building as any type of building that provides public access and is owned or managed by the city government.

Private establishments, on the other hand, include shopping malls; theaters or movie houses; convention centers; sports arenas; museums; health facilities such as hospitals and clinic/diagnostic centers; mortuaries; gasoline stations that have restrooms opened to the public; entertainment centers such as zoos and permanent amusement parks; supermarkets; banks; hotels and pension houses; restaurants with a seating capacity of 50 persons or more; and passenger terminals.

For establishments with small to medium size of restrooms, in which the installation of such facilities may obstruct entrance to and exit from the restroom, the Office of the Building Official (OBO) must require specifications to ensure safety and convenience.

The standards provided by the ordinance may not be applied if the installation, as certified by OBO, is not physically feasible and would violate certain standards governing right of access of PWDs.

This is also effective to restaurants with a seating capacity of 50 persons or more operating inside a shopping mall, in which a centralized baby changing facility is available 100 meters from the restaurant.

All covered establishments are mandated to comply within a year from the effectivity of the ordinance.

The establishments that failed to comply with the requirements will be forwarded to the OBO and City Legal Office for appropriate actions.

The penalties include a fine of P2, 000; P3, 000; P5, 000, or imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year, or both at the discretion of the court and suspension or non-issuance of the business permit, for the first, second, and third offense, respectively.  KQD (FREEMAN)

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