MANILA (Mabuhay) – Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago wants all major establishments and government offices to be required to have diaper-changing stations in their restrooms or common areas accessible not only to women but to men, as well.
In her Senate Bill 2704, Santiago said most establishments did not have diaper-changing tables and those that do, have it only in women’s restrooms.
She said parents use the sink of a public restroom due to the absence of diaper-changing tables.
“This is unhygienic and also inconvenient for other users of the public restroom,” the senator said.
She added that to have changing tables located only in female restrooms assumes that only women have the responsibility to care for children and change their diapers.
“It fails to consider that even men are or should be involved in taking care of children,” she said.
Under the bill, malls, shopping centers, theaters or movie houses, convention centers, sports arenas, auditoriums, cultural complexes, exhibition halls, permanent amusement parks, health facilities, restaurants that can seat 50 people or more, gasoline stations that have restrooms opened to the public, and establishments measuring 25,000 feet or more should have diaper-changing stations.
However, the bill does not apply to an industrial building or a nightclub or bar that does not permit anyone under 18 years old to enter its premises, and a restroom in a health facility which is intended for the use of one patient or resident at a time.
A diaper-changing station shall accommodate at least a 20-pound child and shall have a trash bin for the disposal of diapers. It shall also have hand washing facilities.
“There shall be at least one safe, sanitary, and convenient baby diaper-changing station that is accessible to restrooms used exclusively by women and restrooms used exclusively by men, or at least one safe, sanitary, and convenient baby diaper-changing station that is accessible to both men and women in all major establishments and government offices,” the bill states.
Establishments that will fail to comply within one year after the enactment of the bill shall be meted with a warming and those will fail to comply six months after being issued a warning shall pay P2,000 for every succeeding month until compliance is made. (MNS)