BAGUIO CITY – The local legislature passed on first reading a proposed ordinance regulating the operation and maintenance of public toilets and pay comfort rooms here aimed at establishing standards to improve their quality and the tourism experience of the Summer Capital’s visitors and guests.
Authored by Vice-Mayor Edison Bilog, the proposed measure points out that a basic yet vital component in any tourist destination like Baguio that can make or break a tourist’s experience is when they have to use public toilets or pay comfort rooms.
It stressed that public toilets should be clean, dry, hygienic and must also be complete with various amenities, accessories or facilities, located conveniently, well maintained and equipped with a proper waste management system.
These should also provide safe and accessible facilities to the public and be able to cater to the needs of people with different genders and cultural needs, age groups and persons with disabilities.
If finally approved, the ordinance tasks the city’s health service office (HSO) to be the lead agency in monitoring and implementing its provisions.
The HSO shall set aside necessary funds from its annual budget to implement duties and functions defined in the ordinance subject to accounting and auditing rules and procedures. It shall also prepare the measure’s implementing rules and regulations, if necessary, subject to the approval of the city council and Mayor.
In coordination with the city’s permits and licensing division, the HSO shall inform new applicants of pay comfort room businesses or those that would renew their permits of similar establishments about the measure’s provisions.
Any concerned individual caught violating the ordinance’s provisions shall be fined P1,000 for the first offense; P2,500 for the second offense and P5,000 for the third offense. All fines shall be paid by the violator at the city treasurer’s office./Gaby Keith and Glen Balangao (pio intern)#