A video from the Philippines has been dominating the social media pages of late. No, it is not a tele-nobela, nor it is showing a stoush between two guys vying for a girl's hand. It is actually about something that is likely to stay on as part of the 'new normal'. It is the promotion of a legislated practice of social greeting dubbed as Pagbating Pilipino. Indeed it is a welcome initiative at a time when ways and means of preventing the transmission of COVID-19 are of utmost importance.
The video was sent to The Australian Filipina by Webb Antipala, who has been Veritas Radio's lone Cordillera Region Volunteer Reporter for more than eight years.* He shares:
"Resolution No. 42 recommending Pagbating Pilipino was submitted by Cong. Bayani Fernando in July 2019 well before the virus has impacted our lives. While it is only now that it is getting much publicity, it was adopted by the House of Representatives and was signed by Alan Peter S. Cayetano on February 5, 2020.
"It is the Resolution urging the Philippine Government to provide the simple act of gracefully laying the palm of the right hand over the center of the chest with a simultaneous slight head nod as a customary Filipino gesture of goodwill, praise and respect."
This replaces the traditional gripping of hands in a handshake as part of introductions and/or greetings between individuals as practised not just by Filipinos but majority of nationalities around the world.
Resolution No. 42 is underpinned by Article II, Section 15 of 1987 Philippine Constitution which stipulates that: "the state shall protect and provided the right to health of the people and instil health consciousness among them."
Webb said: "I hope that with the recent publicity the legislated practice is receiving, it will be strongly supported and implemented by the Philippine government. I heard of schools and some municipalities which had been using Pagbating Pilipino even before the resolution was approved."
About Congressman Bayani Fernando
Bayani Flores Fernando is a Filipino politician, businessman and professional mechanical engineer. He serves as representative of the 1st district of Marikina City since June 2016. It is in the term of President Gloria Arroyo, where he served as Chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority he gained notability and mixed public reaction on his style of governance.
He announced his intention to run for President of the Philippines in the 2010 general elections, but after talks with Richard Gordon, he agreed to run instead as Vice-President under Gordon's newly established party, Bagumbayan. Their ticket was dubbed "the Transformers"; he lost in the polls, placing fourth. [Wikipedia].
It has been reported that the Pagbating Pilipino is just one of Congressman Fernando's initiatives that were initially dismissed but eventually appreciated. He was also behind proposals such as the introduction of rapid lanes in Edsa: rapid bus lanes and eliminating traffic lights for busy major roads such as Edsa, lessening of U-turn slots, and sidewalk clearing operations.
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*The interview of Webb Antipala by Radio Tagumpay wil be aired on Monday, June 29, 2020 on Triple H 100.1FM and wil availabe to stream via: https://www.triplehfm.com.au/. Radio Tagumpay airs on Mondays, 2-4pm.