Senator Manny Pacquiao on Saturday touted his “New Normal Bill”, which he said would instill social order as the country tries to manage the spread of the novel coronavirus disease 2019.
In an interview on radio DZMM, Pacquiao said the legislation will set guidelines on how day-to-day activities — from business operations to the conduct of government agencies — will run in an environment reshaped by the global pandemic.
“Magkaroon tayo ng standard protocols, which should be strictly enforced to protect human life para talagang magkaroon ng disiplina ang bawat isa at magkaroon ng parusa ang di sumunod dito,” Pacquiao said.
“Itong new normal law, hangga’t di pa natin nadidiskubre iyong gamot sa COVID-19, kailangan natin ng disiplina, sumunod tayo sa mga alituntunin at patakaran ng ating gobyerno.”
Among Pacquiao’s recommendations are: time-restricted shopping, so-called “pre-buying” online before picking up items at the grocery and putting up dividers at restaurants, among others.
Some sectors, however, want to see a more thorough explanation of the bill, which they suggested may be difficult to apply on the ground.
“Ang ugali, tradisyon produkto ’yan ng daang-daang taon at hindi nababago overnight,” said Nestor Castro, cultural anthropologist at University of the Philippines.
Meanwhile, Pacquiao is partnering with a group of doctors who are offering consultation services via the internet.
Digital Online Consultation for our People’s Healthcare (Docph), aims to reach out to patients seeking medical advice but who can’t go to hospitals because these facilities are prioritizing COVID-19 patients.
Docph looks into not only coronavirus cases, but many other illnesses, too. Consultations are free. Instructions on how to avail of the service are listed on the website DocPH.org.
Pacquiao said such a service is also geared toward people who are worried about being discriminated if they’re diagnosed with a particular disease.
“Makakatulong ito sa mga taong mahihiyang pumunta sa ospital ’pag may mga karamdaman sila. Ito ’yung way na masmadali silang makapagkonsulta at makapagtanong,” Pacquiao said.
The lawmaker has been active in providing relief during the pandemic and since the Luzon-wide lockdown was put in place mid-March.
He said he could have been doing more had he not been forced to self-quarantine.
“Kung di lang ako na-PUM, nasulatan ng barangay dito, labas pa ako ng labas. Hindi naman ako natatakot sa COVID-19 na ’yan kasi ang Panginoon ko ang nagpoprotekta sa’kin palagi. Kailangan lang natin ng faith and belief. Nothing is impossible with God,” Pacquiao said.