Coming together is a beginning; Keeping together is progress; Working together is success. – Henry Ford
Baseco Compound is among the most depressed areas in Metro Manila. As you walk through their alleys, you’ll see make shift houses, children walking around barefoot and families constantly striving and thriving to find means on how to make a living. Unknown to many people, 80% of the households here doesn’t have their toilet bowls. Their “business” could be done anywhere and who knows where their waste could end up?
Now, Baseco Compound which was once the most depressed area is beginning to become a better and safer place. Due to her constant visit in the community, Senator Cynthia Villar have seen how the practice of defecating in open or public spaces poses a grave threat to the environment thereby affecting the residents’ health. The lady senator noted that poor sanitation has caused the contamination of water sources and spiked incidences of deadly water-borne diseases like diarrhea, cholera and typhoid fever and illnesses such as intestinal worm infection and malnutrition.
'The root cause of diseases is a dirty environment. And if residents are openly defecating anywhere, all kinds of illnesses could affect all of them, especially the children. I am confident that if the families are given toilet bowls, then this gross practice of open defecation will stop, ' Villar said.
Having thought that, the Senator on January 19, 2017 moved to address hygiene and sanitary problems as she joined numerous government agencies in the launching of the Toilet Bowls for Baseco Residents Project.
This project is a result of the collective efforts of various Government Agencies and Private Entities concerned. Each household will be given a toilet bowl by the Department of Health. Initially, a total of 500 units of toilet bowls were given up to date and the Senator is aiming to give 4,500 units more. They will be asked to install it for a fee which is to be paid by the DSWD under the Cash for Work Program. A Central Sewerage System will constructed by the Department of Health to treat the water waste. Mangroves were given by the CAVITEX and will be planted by the DENR. The Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission will be in charge of the Waste Management and the supervision of the Livelihood Projects. An Urban Garden in 8 phases of Baseco will be constructed by the DSWD while the BFAR will put up an aquaculture farm. The 4Ps beneficiaries were taught the value of proper hygiene and to encourage them to construct clean and safe sanitation facilities. The group of empowered women belonging to the Kabalikat sa Kaunlaran based in Baseco will handle the selection of beneficiaries of the livelihood programs.
Aside from improved health conditions, Villar likewise sought to boost income generation among the residents during the introduction of the Coconet Weaving Livelihood Project and Composting Facility. The livelihood project aims to guide the residents how to make income out of coconet weaving and to have free organic fertilizer for their urban gardening.
This is one of the visions of Senator Villar—to be able to provide them with a better living condition and a means of livelihood to sustain them. This project is only the start of a better and brighter Baseco.