‘Unsanitary toilets’ found in several Metro Manila schools

Published February 3, 2021, 7:02 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

A number of school buildings in the National Capital Region (NCR) have not fully complied with the requirements of sanitary facilities, as some have no running water resulting in “unsanitary condition and non-functional toilets,” according to a Citizen Participatory Audit (CPA) report.


The audit report on the “Department of Education’s Elementary and Secondary School Buildings and Other Facilities in Metro Manila” was conducted from Sept. 30, 2019 to Feb. 2020 by two teams covering 158 out of a total 792 government primary and secondary schools in NCR.

Those who took part in the audit came from non-government organizations, namely Caucus of Development NGOs, Metro Manila Federation of Persons with Disability, Quezon City Federation of Persons with Disability, and Unang Hakbang Foundation with its partner Pinagsamang Lakas ng Kabataan. 

Working with them were three retired senior state auditors who have all previously worked with the Department of Education Audit Group.

Based on the inspections conducted, the audit group found that a number of school buildings did not fully comply with requirements on sanitary facilities, specifically with the standards contained in the toilet facility requirements manual.

Paragraph 2, Section L of the 2010 Education Facilities Manual requires the provision of sanitary facilities in school buildings. It cites that “every school is required to have toilet facilities within the school premises preferably with the toilet for boys and that for girls located far apart.”

“As far as the ground floor is concerned, more than half of the sampled school buildings were able to meet the prescribed ratio under the three standards–boys’ toilet seat should be one seat per 100 pupils/students (69 schools as opposed to 41); girls’ toilet seat should be one seat per 50 pupils/students (61 schools as opposed to 50); and lavatory for boys should be one lavatory to one toilet (78 schools as opposed to 70).

Meanwhile, the report noted that the toilet facilities located on the upper floor of almost the entire 158 sample school buildings were not compliant with all the prescribed standards.

Aside from the instances of non-compliance with the standards, the audit teams also observed other deficiencies during inspection, such as lack of water supply resulting in unsanitary conditions and non-functional toilets.

“We noticed that the unsanitary condition of the toilet was due to insufficient water supply. In most cases, water supply was only available in the toilets located at the ground floor,” the report read.

“In the absence/non-availability of pressure tanks, the lack of water in toilets located in upper floor areas made it hard to maintain their cleanliness, leaving the upper level toilet facilities non-functional,” it added.

These scenarios were apparent in 10 schools.

Other reasons cited for the lack of water supply include water interruption in the school’s vicinity due to ongoing water crisis and lack of provision of big containers for water storage to ensure water availability at all times.