By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has extended P10 million worth of financial assistance to the Manila city government for the procurement and maintenance of 400 portable toilets for informal settlers in Parola, Tondo, Manila.
DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu led the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) last Jan. 23 for the implementation of “Project: Kubeta Ko (My Toilet).”
Other signatories were Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, Maynilad Water Services, Inc. president and CEO Ramoncito Fernandez, and Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Administrator Emmanuel Salamat.
The DENR and the Manila City government have identified Parola as an “open defecation hotspot,” due to the practice of residents of defecating in the open environment rather than into a toilet.
“With this project, we will be able to change the culture of ISFs (informal settler families), so that they will be able to excrete wastes privately and in a dignified manner, while contributing to the eventual cleanliness of Manila Bay,” Cimatu said.
Under the MOA, the DENR would extend P10 million in financial assistance to the Manila City government for the implementation of the project, including the operational costs for one year. A $160,000 contribution from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will also provide additional funding support for the project.
Maynilad agreed to conduct the treatment of sewage from the portable toilets, while the MWSS will perform the monitoring the project and provision of necessary assistance to the parties.
As the procuring entity and beneficiary of the project, the Manila city government will be the one to ensure that the delivered goods will be properly installed, tested, and maintained.
It is also expected to perform social preparation activities in Parola and ensure the cooperation of target beneficiaries in the implementation of the project.