Gov’t urged to promote new gesture as alternative to handshake

The House of Representatives has adopted a resolution urging the Philippine government to promote a new customary gesture of goodwill, praise, and respect as an alternative to the traditional handshake to reduce the chances of transferring communicable diseases.

The chamber adopted during Wednesday's plenary session House Resolution No. 408, which urges the promotion of 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.

The resolution was adopted amid the threat of the novel coronavirus, wherein the Philippines had three confirmed cases of the virus, one of whom died in February.

Marikina City Rep. Bayani Fernando, the author of the HR No. 408, said the medical profession has established that the traditional, well-meaning and innocent gesture of handshake transmits communicable diseases and is a risk to one's health.

Fernando said the alternative of placing the hand over the chest is a universal gesture of good faith coming from the heart, while a nod is a traditional Filipino gesture of respect.

"The Philippine Government is urged to promote this gesture of goodwill and praise so that this will become a customary practice of all Filipinos," the resolution read.

"All government agencies are encouraged to promote this practice in their respective offices and areas of jurisdiction, with the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) taking the lead in the wider dissemination and promotion of this Filipino gesture, it added.

The World Health Organization advised to practice frequent handwashing, avoid unprotected contact with farm and wild animals, practice proper cough etiquette and avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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