“Toilet summit” scheduled here

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“Toilet summit” scheduled here

Topic |  
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Talking dirty, no. But sanitation for all, yes.

 The Sangguniang Panlalawigan chaired by Vice-Gov. Atty. Dionisio D. Balite has started to talk, not dirty, but sanitation-for-all crusade as it is eyeing to launch this year, hopefully, what it called “Toilet Summit”

 Earlier, Provincial Board Member Kristine Alexie B. Tutor and BM Rey Niño F. Boniel, chairperson and member, tourism committee, respectively, confirmed this in separate interviews.  But no date set yet but both assured it will be held this year.

 This surfaced even before the provincial board started to tackle public toilets constructed by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in public places that remain still without water.

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 Tutor and Boniel and Balite are of the opinion that Toilet Summit may be something new but this is very important. They agree that this kind of forum will provide an avenue to discuss concerns such as, but not limited to, environmental issues like waste management, challenges of rural and urban sanitation, and particularly the role toilets play in improving tourism in the province.  

 Boniel earlier said that the toilet summit is also aimed at raising awareness and to address sanitation issues which appeared to be neglected.

 “In 2013, a joint initiative between Singapore’s government and World Toilet Organization led to Singapore’s first UN resolution, entitled “Sanitation for All”, calling for collective action to address the global sanitation crisis through the commemoration of World Toilet Day,” news report said.

 Ms. Doris Obena of the vice-governor’s office special project unit (SPU) bared during the recent public works committee meeting that the problem of having no water for use on public toilets built by DPWH remains a grave concern.

 “In this instance, the one in Tangnan, Panglao was cited which was never used until such time that its door became worn down. The same has no available water facility for flushing, rendering the project futile. Another public toilet cited was that in Cambuhat Oyster Farm, Buenavista constructed only last year, its plastic door is already damaged. Ms. Obena opined that maybe plastic doors should not be used in public toilets,” the committee report said.

 Obena stressed that while public toilets are demands for public facilities, she lamented that “many toilets constructed by DPWH are not utilized.” She wanted that an inventory of these public facilities, if ever they were properly turned-over to the LGUs and how many are functional and how many are not,” be conducted.

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 Engr. Junibe C. Froilan, Assistant District Engineer, DPWH-2, Bohol, replied that public toilets were finished were already turned-over to the LGUs concerned, or to the schools cocnrned. “To whom the project is turned-over lies the responsibility of managing and maintaining the same, since DPWH doesn’t have funds for its maintenance,” Froilan was quoted in the report as saying.

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 “Concerning public toilets without water, Engr. Niceas Caberte, Chief, Maintenance Section, DPWH-1, the question is, first and foremost, where to construct it. With the cost of real estate nowadays, especially in Panglao, nobody is willing to donate his/her lot for such public facility. Hence, DPWH is forced to construct it on a government lot, where water is often scarce. Embarrassing as it is, this practice is already discontinued. Supposedly, one of the purposes in constructing these public toilets is providing facilities for the handicapped. Unfortunately, there is a lot with water available, but it is not government-owned.”

 As this developed, the SP approved the committee’s recommendation for DPWH “should do some best practices like constructing public toilets where there is an availability of water and there are people who can really manage and maintain the same.”

 It also urged the DPWH to provide the list of all public toilets and waiting sheds for future funding requirements. (rvo)

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