PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has signed Republic Act (RA) 11311, mandating transportation terminals to improve their services by providing free Internet access and clean facilities to commuters.
"The State recognizes that the right of every establishment to a fair return of investment carries with it a corresponding social responsibility to provide adequate facilities for the comfort of its clientele," the law, inked by Duterte on April 17, reads.
"Towards this end, the State shall hereby require the owners, operators and administrators of land transportation terminals, stations, stops, rest areas and roll-on/roll-off terminals to improve their facilities through the provision of free Internet services, and clean sanitary facilities," it added.
Under RA 11311, land transportation and roll-on/roll-off terminals are required to provide passengers access to free internet and clean restrooms.
The law tasks the Department of Information and Communications Technology, in coordination with the Department of Transportation and other concerned stakeholders, to ensure that free internet is provided in transportation terminals.
Owners, operators, or administrators of terminals are ordered to ensure the "speedy and efficient" implementation of free internet access to commuters.
RA 11311 also seeks "separate restrooms for persons with disabilities, male and female passengers; adequate ventilation and lighting; safe adequate, and running water supply; flush system; toilet seat with cover; lavatory with toilet paper, mirro, soap, hand dryer and door lock; waste bin; and exclusive space for diaper changing" in terminals' rest rooms.
The law prohibits the collection of fees from passengers for the use of regular sanitary facilities, except to "well-appointed or deluxe" facilities operated solely for commercial purposes.
"For the purpose of this Act, the concerned passenger must show the paid bus ticket for the day in order to avail of the free use of sanitary facilities," RA 11311 read.
Each terminal is also directed to establish at least one lactation station for breastfeeding mothers that is separate from the sanitary facilities.
A penalty of P5,000 will be charged each day against any owner, operator, or administrator of terminals who is found to have violated any provisions of the law.
RA 11311, a copy of which was just released by Palace on Wednesday, June 19, will take effect 15 days after its publication in the Official Gazette or in at least two national newspapers of general circulation. (SunStar Philippines)