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ISFs 1st beneficiaries of ‘Kubeta Ko’ project

Isko Moreno and Honey Lacuna
Mayor Isko Moreno tests one of the toilet bowls at the launching of the 'Kubeta Ko' project in Parola Tondo. Looking on is Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna. Photo JERRY S. TAN

INFORMAL settler families (ISFs) residing in Parola, Tondo, Manila became the first batch of beneficiaries of portable toilets under the ‘Kubeta Ko’ project, as Mayor Isko Moreno called on the residents to put a stop to ‘open defecation’ saying it poses a great hazard to their very own health and safety specially amid the pandemic

It will be recalled that Moreno had entered into an agreement with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for the launching of the project aimed to do away with open defecation which adversely affects the Manila Bay and invites illnesses.

A viable, portable, container-based toilet technology was developed for the purpose.

Under the agreement, portable toilets will be placed in Parola, Tondo to provide ‘dignified, temporary toilet facilities for informal settler families ‘to immediately stop and minimize open defecation by ISFs into Manila Bay.”

In leading the launch of the project yesterday along with Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna, Moreno, a former squatter, cited how difficult it was growing up without the comfort of having a toilet.

He narrated how they used newspapers to wrap their wastes with then dumped them into a common area within the neighborhood.

The project is in line with the ongoing rehabilitation of the area, for which Moreno thanked the DENR, the Bill Gates Foundation and Maynilad.

Moreno called on the residents to prove they are worth the help by making good use of the toilets and keeping them clean at all times.

Meanwhile, the city government-sponsored anticipated masses or ‘Simbang Gabi’ leading up to Christmas Day began last night.

Department of Tourism, Culture and Arts of Manila (DTCAM) chief Charlie Dungo, who had been tasked by Moreno to handle the event, said the anticipated Masses will be held every night from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Bonifacio Shrine beside the Manila City Hall, under strict observance of health protocols being mandated by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).

Dungo said that under the plan laid out by the mayor, a single entry point had been designated where all the Mass attendees will undergo checking of temperature and will be required to wear face masks and face shields. The daily masses will be celebrated by the Minor Basilica in Quiapo or more commonly called, ‘Quiapo Church.’

Dungo added that the mayor had ordered the DTCAM to provide free face shields to those who do not have or cannot afford to buy one, since the city had been receiving donations of face masks and face shields.

The site, according to Dungo, has a capacity of over 2,000 on any normal given day but with the protocols in place, the number of mass attendees who will be allowed might be reduced to only 100 in order to ensure that the required social distancing is met. Those who cannot attend the said anticipated masses physically may hear the mass online.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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