Saturday, 6 February 2010

MMDA opens washrooms for women

CRIS G. ODRONIA REPORTER
Manila Times
http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/component/content/article/42-rokstories/11001-mmda-opens-urinals-for-women

With the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) opening urinals strictly for women along a major thoroughfare, female commuters and pedestrians no longer have to go anywhere to heed nature’s call. MMDA Chairman Oscar Inocentes and other officials of the agency and woman members of Rotary Club on Friday inspected the urinals along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue.

One urinal is under the Ortigas station of Metro Rail Transit 1 and two are at a provincial-bus terminal on Quezon Avenue.

The women’s urinals are four-wall cement slabs with polycarbonate roofing and doors. Painted in shades of green and adorned with flower drawings, they have slits near the ceiling for ventilation.

“We designed and built these facilities for the exclusive use of women. We’re just hoping that they will try to use these so we would know what further improvements we need to make for their comfort and convenience,” Inocentes said.

The female members of Rotary Clubs of Loyola Heights and Diliman North, both in Quezon City, who were invited to try out the newly opened toilets, approved the design of the facilities.

“This is really a boon for women,” said Rose Imperial, the public relations officer of the Rotary Club of Loyola Heights. “We’ve been so neglected by so many kinds of programs but this very basic thing is something else for us.”

Imperial encouraged women to try the urinals, saying that the design of the toilets considered foremost the safety of their users. “The only problem is that, it is a challenge for us women to maintain this but I think we can do it,” she said.

Each toilet, which measures 3 by 5 meters, has a lavatory and water supply. For security, it has doors that could only be locked by the user inside.

“We guarantee that the user cannot be seen outside. It is fully covered and is roofed. We have assigned people to maintain its cleanliness round-the-clock,” the MMDA chairman said.

Inocentes added that they would solicit comments and suggestions from the public in 15 days before discussing plans to put up similar facilities along major thoroughfares in Metro Manila.

“I am encouraging the ladies to use this first batch of urinals and give us feedback, whether it is positive or negative. This way, we would know which aspects we need to improve,” he said.

The MMDA chief added that each toilet, which costs between P15,000 and P20,000, would be manned by the MMDA personnel 24 hours a day to maintain cleanliness.

The urinals were designed by engineer Rowena Estrella of MMDA. Estrella said that among the factors she considered for the design of the toilets were safety, ventilation and durability.

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