By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The handshake has many meanings, but most popularly, it is a gesture of greeting or agreement. But if Marikina Rep. Bayani Fernando would succeed in having his bill approved, the handshake may no longer be advisable in the Philippines.
Fernando is pushing for the passage of House Bill 8427 that wants to promote a new Filipino gesture of goodwill and praise, only that it is not in the form of a handshake.
Citing that the medical profession has established for ages that traditional handshake is “unhealthy, a risk to health,” Fernando said that “with the innocent well-meaning gesture of a handshake, communicable diseases are transferred from person to person.”
“This House bill seeks to promote the simple act of gracefully laying the palm of the right hand over the center of the chest with simultaneously a slight head nod and an appropriate verbal greeting as “The Filipino official gesture of goodwill and praise” as an alternative to the traditional handshake,” Fernando said.
“Furthermore, placing the hand over the chest is a gesture of good faith coming from the heart, while the nod is a traditional Pilipino gesture of respect,” he said.
Fernando said the purpose of the bill is in accord with Article II, Section 15 of the 1987 Constitution, which provides that the State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instil health consciousness among them.
He said his proposed “Filipino gesture of goodwill and praise” is a better alternative to the traditional handshake.
House Bill 8427 mandates the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) to take the lead to promote such practice.
The bill provides that the new Filipino gesture of goodwill and praise shall be practiced in all government offices, with an appropriate budget for implementation.