BAGUIO CITY – Inspectors from the tourism department and private partners recommended to the city government to improve the existing public comfort rooms located in the different parks and public places in order to effectively and efficiently address the needs of senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs).
Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan said the inspectors of the Search for Model Public Comfort Rooms around the country were convinced and satisfied on the cleanliness of the pay public toilets around the public places in the city but raised observations over the failure of the said facilities to comply with the Magna Carta for Senior Citizens and PWDs.
“We will bring the matter to the operator of our public toilets so that appropriate remedies could be done in the facilities prior to the conduct of future inspections by the members of the search committee. Baguio City is very lucky to be one of the cities to be included in the search amidst the state of some public toilets,” Domogan stressed.
He said some of the contracts of the public toilets are about to expire, thus, the city government will be compelled to include in the future terms of reference the need of the operator to install the appropriate facilities for senior citizens and PWDs in order to be able to comply with existing laws, rules and regulations.
Domogan cited local residents and visitors were able to see the difference when the public toilets were managed by the city government in the 1990s compared to the time when it was already bidded out and an operator started improving and investing for the rehabilitation and upgrading of the comfort rooms.
While it is true that the operator will charge who will use the toilets for their respective call of nature, the local chief executive underscored it is part of the mechanism on how the operator will be able to recover their huge investments to the rehabilitation and upgrading of the facilities for a certain period of time without the city government shelling out public funds to rehabilitate the public toilets located in the different public places citywide.
According to him, the privatization of the public comfort rooms is part of the initiative of the city government to involve the private sector in the improved provision of public service to the people.
For the past several years, R*R Sanitary Services was cited by various government and non-government organizations for being able to maintain clean comfort rooms in the different public places in the city giving added attractions for visitors to frequent the city and spend a well-deserved break.
Domogan said almost all tourist destinations in various parts of the global village offer pay toilets that is why he does not understand why there are some sectors in the city who oppose the charging of fees for the use of the clean comfort rooms or they just oppose the same to gain public attention and not simply for the merits of opposing such plans.
By Dexter A. See