"'Yung mga tao kasi, kung gustong umihi, gustong maghanap ng kubeta. Siyempre, 'yung iba, diyan na lang sa tabi-tabi ng chapel namin naaabutan (When our churchgoers wanted to pee, they look for a public toilet. But when they can't find one, they choose to do it around our chapel instead)," shared Silvestre Mateo, President of Sta. Lucia Chapel.
More accessible than the main church in the Island for its parishioners, Sta. Lucia Chapel in Barangay Manocmanoc, Malay, Aklan, has been attracting more and more churchgoers. However, its lack of public toilets would be a challenge for its daily visitors.
Addressing this need for proper sanitation, Manila Water Foundation (MWF), in partnership with Boracay Water and Barangay Manocmanoc, formally turned over a four-cubicle public toilet the at Sta. Lucia Chapel in Barangay Manocmanoc on March 6. Under its Ahon Sanitasyon program, the public toilet aims to not only promote health and sanitation among churchgoers, but to also encourage environmental sustainability through wastewater treatment.
Adel Lumagod, Sustainable Development Manager of Boracay Water shared his joy for the completion of project which has been conceptualized in 2017, but was only turned over this year because of the closure of the Island in 2018 and other logistical challenges. "[I am] happy, finally nai-turnover na [itong public toilet], kasi matagal na po itong dream talaga ng komunidad dito sa Barangay Manocmanoc, especially 'yung Catholic Association ng Manocmanoc. Sila po kasi talaga 'yung gustong ipush na rin itong project para namna po mapromotre nola yung health and sanitation dito sa mga churchgoers natin (I am glad that the project has been finally turned over. The community has been waiting for this, especially yung Catholic Association of Manocmanoc. They really wanted to push through with this project to encourage proper sanitation and hygiene to our churchgoers.)," shared Lumagod.
He also explained the importance of constructing the toilet facility in connection to Boracay Island's sanitation condition. "Boracay Island is very fragile when it comes to wastewater," he said. "Ang [goal] ng public toilet na ito, is not just to promote 'yung standard na septic tank, but to also encourage them to connect to a sewer network para naman po ma-protektahan natin ang ating karagatan by treating their wastewater before we discharge it to the ocean. (Through this project, we wanted to promote not just the use of a standard septic tank, but to also encourage the community to connect to a sewer network that can treat their wastewater before discharging it to the ocean, thereby protecting our water bodies."
"Thank you very much to Manila Water Foundation for supporting Boracay Water especially sa Amot Amot Kita sa Malimpyong Boracay, and congratulations that we were able to promote this advocacy through its health and sanitation program, not just in Boracay but also in the Philippines," he thanked.
Barangay Manocmanoc Chair Nixon Sualog also believes in the advocacy of maintaining proper sanitation in connection to health, especially in his Barangay. “We are thankful that our Barangay has a Sewer Treatment Plant located in Sitio Tambisaan to treat our wastewater. The advocacy of Boracay Water, through Amot Amot Kita Para sa Malimpyong Boracay helped promote health and sanitation to our barangay," he said.
Ahon Sanitasyon is an infrastructure development program of stand-alone sanitation facility in low-income communities.
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