MANILA - Voting 212-1-1, the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading House Bill 8149 which institutionalizes a new, non-contact Filipino gesture of respect, goodwill and praise in the middle of the coronavirus disease pandemic.
The bill was originally filed as House Bill 7333 by Marikina 1st District Rep. Bayani Fernando.
The bill’s committee report said the new way of greeting shall be through the laying the palm of the right hand over the center of one’s chest while simultaneously lowering the heard with eyes either closed or cast down.
Fernando dubbed this as the “Bating Filipino.”
Fernando, in his explanatory note to HB 7333, said the traditional handshake as a way of greeting is medically risky.
“The medical profession has established that the traditional, well meaning and innocent gesture of handshake transmits communicable diseases and is a risk to one’s health," he said.
“The relevance of this legislative measure becomes more pronounced as we are now suffering from a global health crisis due to the novel coronavirus pandemic," Fernando added.
Fernando likewise said the new contactless greeting "should be institutionalized as we take a preventive approach in the spread of communicable diseases, not just COVID 19."