The Department of Health (DOH), along with other government agencies, signed a policy on Monday that would provide guidance on the use and creation of healthy public open spaces amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the ceremonial signing of the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) for Healthy Open Spaces, DOH Health Promotion Bureau officer-in-charge director Rodley Desmond Daniel Carza explained that the policy specifically aims to provide guidance on the risk-based opening of public open spaces, and provide standards for their creation in order to promote physical and mental health and well-being for Filipinos.
He also said that healthy public open spaces should be open and accessible to all; are child, elderly, persons with disabilities (PWDs), and pet-friendly; are safe space for all genders; are smoke, vape, alcohol, and drug-free; are promotive of handwashing and sanitation, are eco-friendly, sustainable, and non-polluting; are climate and disaster-resilient; are promotive of local culture, arts, and heritage; and should be well-staffed, managed, and maintained.
The JAO was inked by representatives from the DOH, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Tourism, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development, Department of Public Works and Highways, Philippine Commission on Women, and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.
DOH Assistant Secretary Beverly Ho said these agencies want to promote healthy behaviors like moving more, eating right, getting vaccinated, staying clean, living sustainably, having good mental health and sexual reproductive health, preventing violence and injury, and avoiding substance abuse.
“Kami sa Department of Health, ang goal namin ay sa karami-ramihan ng Pilipino na hindi kinakailangan ma-ospital, meron tayong dapat ginagawa para sa kanila para patuloy sila na hindi ma-ospital o hindi kinakailangan magkasakit,” she said.
(Our goal in the DOH is to provide ways in order for many Filipinos not to get hospitalized or get sick.)
“Part of that work is making sure ‘yung sinasabing making the healthy behaviors the easier choice for everyone, everytime, everywhere. Gusto nating ilapit ‘yung oportunidad na maging healthy sa lahat kasi kung hindi, napakahirap niya,” she added.
(Part of that work is making sure that we make healthy behaviors the easier choice for everyone, everytime, everywhere. We want to bring the opportunity to be healthy to everyone because if not, it will be very difficult for them.) — Giselle Ombay/RSJ, GMA Integrated News