Manila Water Foundation (MWF) and Philippine Red Cross (PRC), aiming to extend assistance to disaster-affected communities in Albay, recently turned over 30 transitional toilets and 12 handwashing facilities to five schools across the municipalities of Guinobatan, Malilipot, and Camalig.
The beneficiaries of the newly constructed facilities are Lower Binogsacan High School, Guinobatan West Elementary School, San Jose Elementary School, Malilipot Central School, and Comun Elementary School. These facilities aim to promote proper sanitation not only during emergencies where schools usually serve as evacuation centers, but also beyond disaster situations. School children can also utilize these facilities during ordinary school days, thus contributing to increased access to sanitation in the context of both emergency and non-emergency settings.
During the turnover ceremony, MWF Executive Director Reginald Andal expressed his gratitude on the success of the project. “We thank PRC for being a staunch partner of Manila Water Foundation in enabling change through championing sustainable WASH and disaster resilience. The partnership in finding solutions that harness the power of collaboration and sustainability continues. Our LGU and school beneficiaries share the responsibility of ensuring that these toilet facilities continue to operate and serve its primary purpose. They are our community stewards who embody the responsibility of maintaining, managing, and further improving these vital facilities,” he shared.
In a message, PRC Chairman Richard Gordon emphasized the significance of ensuring dignity especially in times of disaster and thanked the community and MWF for partnering with PRC. “Proper sanitation in schools mirrors an enabling environment that secures our students’ health and welfare. In every situation, students’ respect and dignity should be preserved. That’s why we empower students and teachers to become responsible in maintaining sanitation facilities, ensuring a clean and healthy living place for all. This is not possible without the help of Manila Water Foundation. My sincerest gratitude to their hard work in ensuring a harmonious delivery of accessible humanitarian services,” he said.
The construction of sanitation facilities was brought about by the recent eruption of the Mayon Volcano, during which more than 7,000 individuals across the five evacuation centers benefitted from the project. MWF, through its Agapay Para sa Barangay (APSB) disaster response program, formalized its partnership with PRC last April.
MWF, together with its partners from the private and public sectors, was able to deploy 5,430 bottles of five-gallon potable water to thousands of affected families at the height of Mayon's volcanic activity in January this year.