Courtesy seats for elderly, PWDS, pregnant women eyed

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BAGUIO CITY – Two members of the local legislative body filed a similar proposed ordinance requiring business establishments and government offices in the city, especially having long queues of clients, to provide courtesy seats for senior citizens, persons with disabilities, pregnant women and women with babies, and providing penalties for violations.

Vice Mayor Edison R. Bilog and Councilor Leandro B. Yangot, Jr. stated it shall be a policy of the local government to require all business establishments and government offices, especially those having long queues of clients, to provide courtesy seats for elderly, PWDs, pregnant women and women with their babies.

All business establishments and government offices shall post a signage indicating the chairs provided are courtesy or priority seats for the use of senior citizens, PWDs, pregnant women and women with their babies and the signage shall be similar to a prescribed standard to be adopted by the local government.

Owners, managers, persons or officers-in-charge of business establishments that fail to designate the required court seats shall be issued a notice of violation or warning for the first offense, a fine of P3,000, a fine of P5,000 and suspension of business permit for the third offense and a fine of P5,000 and cancellation of business permit for the fourth offense.

For government offices, notices or warning from the City Mayor shall be issued to the head of office or department that failed to provide courtesy seats.

The City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO), the Office of the Persons with Disabilities Affairs Office (PDAO), the office for Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) and the Permits and Licensing Division shall prepare the implementing rules and regulations for the purpose of the strict implementation and the same shall be submitted to the City Mayor and local legislative body for approval.

Moreover, the city Public Information Office under the City Mayor’s Office and the Public Information Officer of the City Council shall ensure the widest information distribution to inform the public about the provisions of the said measure.

Republic Act (RA) 716 or the Local Government Code of the Philippines provides that every local government unit shall exercise the powers expressly granted, those necessarily implied therefrom, as well as powers necessary, appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are essential to the promotion of the general welfare.

On the other hand, the Constitution empowers the State to give priority for the needs of the underprivileged, sick, elderly, disabled, women and children.

In 2014, the City Council passed Resolution No. 073, series of 2014 which strongly recommended that drug stores operating in the city provide adequate waiting area with chairs for senior citizens, PWDs, pregnant women, and sick persons, however, the scope of the said resolution was limited to drug stores.

While there are already national laws and local legislations establishing queuing and waiting areas of drug stores, the proponents underscored that there is a need to provide additional access, safety, and comfort to the said individuals when they are transacting with businesses as well as in government offices in the different parts of the city.

By Dexter A. See

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