Bantayan, Cebu – For people living in Bantayan island, building back better after Haiyan means getting access to safe, sanitary and affordable toilets.
Around 300 people are set to gather today at the Bantayan Gymnasium for the Sanitation Market Fair titled Kasilyas, Ipon, at Kita. The event is aimed at encouraging government and non-government sectors to invest in better sanitation facilities in the island of Bantayan.
“More than half of the total number of households in Bantayan do not have toilets,” said Rona Raisa Ramos, Oxfam’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Markets Specialist. “Inadequate WASH services increase the possibility of people getting exposed to public health risks. Water is always needed for everyday household needs, and the maintenance of livelihoods. Increased public investments in water and sanitation facilities will provide people with better access to these services, thus reducing the risk of them getting sick,” she added.
Ramos added that waste materials that are indiscriminately disposed can contaminate water resources, thus posing a threat to the environment and public health. “By promoting and pushing for proper waste management in Bantayan through this sanitation market fair, we can contribute to efforts in reducing water-related illnesses, pollution, and protecting the environment.”
To kick off the campaign, Oxfam, together with its partner Cebu People’s Multi Purpose Cooperative (CPMPC) is sponsoring an advocacy run to raise awareness on the importance of public health, and call on the local government to improve water and sanitation facilities in Bantayan Island.”
Expected to attend the sanitation fair are various stakeholders including representatives from the Department of Health, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Social Welfare and Development, local government units from the municipalities of Bantayan, Madridejos, and Santa Fe; international NGOs such as the Red Cross, Caritas, and Islamic Relief, and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL); financing institutions such as Community Economic Ventures Inc.(CEVI), ASA Philippines and the Philippine National Bank; masons and community organizations, as well as hardware store owners and water companies.
“We hope that through the Kasilyas, Ipon, at Kita sanitation market fair, people in Bantayan will value the benefits of owning a toilet,” said Ramos. “Owning a toilet is safe, healthy and sanitary (Kasilyas). Owning a toilet does not have to be a financial burden (Ipon). There are livelihood opportunities in toilets — whether in making them or selling them (Kita).”
The campaign is part of Oxfam’s joint project with CPMPC and Bayan Academy Foundation, aimed at promoting WASH-related enterprises in Haiyan-affected areas, particularly in Bantayan Island, Cebu, and in the municipalities of Guian, Salcedo, and Sulat, in Eastern Samar. The project aims to improve health and sanitation in the communities through socialised credit and savings; financial literacy and microenterprise development. //