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PAF turns over sanitation facilities for Taal evacuees

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Responding to the call to provide the hygienic and sanitation needs of the Taal Volcano eruption-affected residents staying at the Sto. Tomas evacuation center, the 355th Aviation Engineer Wing of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) turned over on Saturday 20 temporary latrines.

AEW Deputy Commander, Col. Gerardo Zamudio, said the construction of 3-in-1 prototype sanitation facilities for evacuation centers was completed in five days.

“These are simple, low-cost and easy to construct. The latrine’s toilets, bathrooms, and lavatories are designed to be environmentally friendly,” he said.

He added recyclables drums were used to create septic tanks for the 20 cubicles to potentially avoid groundwater contamination.

The temporary latrines are completely installed with electricity, built-in faucet with flowing water and provisional drums for water storage. It includes pathways and canal to provide proper drainage in the area and avoid slippery muds.

“Actually this is our first time to conceptualize sanitation facilities out of recyclable materials and we are glad that the evacuees have appreciated our efforts,” he said, noting that the 355th AEW designed the latrines.

More than 300 families at the Sto. Tomas evacuation center will benefit from the 20 latrines — 10 latrines are for males and the other 10 are for females.

Gender-responsive project

Virginia Pornea, an evacuee, said the newly-installed latrines would address the health issues of every displaced individual while they are staying at the evacuation center.

“Kitang-kita namin ang malasakit ng gobyerno para sa aming mga nasa evacuation center. Nasaksihan namin na wala pong inindang init ng araw at kahit po gabi na ay nagtatrabaho po ang mga kasundaluhan para matapos agad ang latrines,” she said.

(We saw the government’s concern for us who are staying here in the evacuation center. W saw the troops working hard under the heat of the sun, and even at night just to finish building the latrines.)

She urged her fellow evacuees to maintain cleanliness when using the comfort rooms to sustain proper hygiene and sanitation while staying at the evacuation site.

Meanwhile, Welnie Bondalo, another evacuee, said it is a great relief for the evacuees, noting that with the 20 comfort rooms, there would be less time waiting in line.

Before the new latrines were installed, evacuees had to share only six toilets.

Meanwhile, PAF Airman Mark Anthony Ansino, one of the AEW workers who constructed the latrines, felt satisfied upon seeing the evacuees were provided a little comfort.

“It is fulfilling to see the evacuees are very excited for the construction and that during our working days, watching us with a smile made me feel proud that I was able to help my fellowmen,” he said.

Aside from ensuring proper sanitation in the evacuation area, Analyn Rosarito, another AEW member, said the evacuees needed a gender-responsive project.

“The completion of this project inspired me to be a more active servant for the people,” she said.

She expressed her happiness being part of this gender-equitable latrine construction.

Zamudio said the construction of temporary latrines would be replicated in other evacuation centers to better provide sanitary convenience for the evacuees.

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