Senator Joel Villanueva has filed a bill requiring establishments and government agencies to provide child-friendly seating and diaper-changing stations in men's and women's restrooms.
Senate Bill No. 1296 or the "Infant-Friendly Facilities Act of 2017" integrates previously drafted legislation by the late Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago that requires diaper-changing stations in restrooms or facilities accessible to both men and women. Further, Villanueva's bill also requires establishments to provide access to infant-friendly seats.
"Diaper-changing stations should be established not only at women's restrooms but also at men's as both parents should attend to their child's needs and must also be involved in taking care of their children," Villanueva said.
"We want to ensure that all Filipino citizens with infants and children will be provided with fundamental access to facilities that will assist them in spending time and raising their families," the senator added.
Villanueva emphasized that the State should recognize the need of all Filipinos to access convenient facilities that will enable them to properly undertake their respective responsibilities of child care.
"We have to ensure that these facilities are sanitary, safe, and readily available for all persons, and that all private and public establishments comply with these conditions for the benefit of the general public," Villanueva said.
Among the salient features of the Infant-Friendly Act are the requirement for food service establishments to provide a proportion of at least one (1) child-friendly seat for every ten (10) common seats available; and the provision of diaper-changing stations for men's and women's restrooms in all government offices and major establishments such as malls, movie houses, convention centers, sports arenas, auditoriums, health facilities, and restaurants that can seat 50 people or more.
Establishments and offices that fail to comply with the provisions of the said measure six months after being issued a warning will be imposed with a fine worth P2,000 monthly until compliance is made.
"While we have already filed bills and supported advocacies that aim to uplift the lives of our countrymen by giving them free education, jobs, and health services, we must not forget even the simplest needs of every Filipino family. With this bill, all Filipino families will recognize that the Philippine government is their partner in providing safe, enjoyable and worthwhile quality time for them and their infants and young children," Villanueva concluded.