CRs for LGBTQ+ to be constructed also: Naga to boost its sanitary conditions, plans to build restro

NAGA CITY --- Using an international study as basis in advancing a specific agenda on health and sanitation, the city government here has passed and approved the ordinance that mandates the construction of restrooms in the city’s public areas including places along highways.

City Councilor Joselito S.A. Del Rosario, author of city ordinance 2019-051, said a World Bank study, Economic Impacts of Sanitation in the Philippines, reveals that “sanitation is often a neglected aspect of development in developing countries.”

The study, which was conducted in 2008 under the Economics of Sanitation Initiative (ESI) in 4 countries, namely, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam, also stated that “the total number of tourists choosing a country for their holiday is partially related to the general sanitary conditions of the country.”

It further provides some observations and findings that say poor sanitation causes illness and premature death in the Philippines.

“Public toilets are important for many Filipinos as a largely daytime necessity, but these were shown to be of inadequate quality and insufficient in number. Many public toilets in the Philippines are not clean and do not have the basic necessities such as running water, toilet paper, soap, and hand towels. As a result, people are forced to make adjustments to cope with the situation. One study reported that the absence of water for flushing and handwashing in public restrooms in the Philippines had made it habitual for women to bring their own toilet paper,” the report said.

The ordinance, Del Rosario said, wishes to give practical solution to the problem by way of constructing specific number of comfort rooms designed to cater to specific users. A provision in the ordinance’s section 3 said that each toilet facility shall have three sets of comfort rooms: one for male persons, one for females, and one for the members of LGBTQ (+) including persons with disabilities or with special needs.

Presidential Decree 856, otherwise known as the “Code on Sanitation of the Philippines” provides for the establishment and upkeep of sanitation facilities including the putting up of comfort rooms in various public areas. The measure, however, is silent as to the details and specifications of toilets to be established.

In the ordinance, a technical working group (TWG) shall be created by the city mayor to make the details, costing and other specifications of the public toilet facilities that are to be constructed.

The group, which will be composed of the city engineer as chairman, and heads of the city health office, city planning and development office, city environment and natural resources office, city arts, culture, and tourism office, public safety office, and other concerned offices as members, shall also identify the locations of the facilities.

In an interview with Bicol Mail, Del Rosario said, the less economically resilient communities (LERCS) as identified by the city government will be the priority beneficiaries of the public restrooms. The measure also authorized the city mayor to issue an order that directs the payment of corresponding fees, if necessary, by the users of the facilities to be able to maintain and upkeep the comfort rooms.

Section 5 of the ordinance provides that: “Any person who cause the destruction of, or deface/ damage the facility or any of its amenities shall pay a fine of five thousand pesos (P5,000) and an imprisonment of 1 year, and shall be required to pay the cost of repair or replacement.

The chairman of the committee on peace and order/public safety in the Sangguniang Panlungsod will chair the oversight committee with chairpersons of the committee on health, committee on infrastructure, the city engineer, the city health officer, the city environment and natural resources officer and the head of the City Events, Protocol, and Public Information Office (CEPPIO) as members.

The committee is tasked to oversee the effective and efficient implementation of the ordinance.