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Just one restroom for everyone at every LRT station

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:17:00 12/25/2007

Filed Under: Transport, Railway, Health, Gender Issues

If you want to suffer urinary tract infection (U/tI), take the LRT for two weeks. I am from Mindanao, specifically, from Panabo City, Davao del Norte.

I've been in Manila many times these past five years. Riding the LRT or MRT used to be a fervent wish. Until, I finally to experience it on Nov. 14, 2007--from Baclaran to Recto then to Pureza.

At the first station, I was quite nervous. Friends and relatives had told me that it would be a rocket-fast, snaky ride, and that I needed to watch out for "pick pocketers and snatchers." Transferring from one station to another was quite fun. Until I had to use a comfort room to take a leak. It was a real surprise for me to find out that there was only one comfort room (restroom) in the station. Yes, just one comfort room assigned to everyone whether disabled, male or female. Worse, it was very dirty. Imagine, 10-25 persons falling in line to use a filthy, poorly maintained comfort room!

I think LRT costs more than a billion pesos. But how come it can't provide separate comfort rooms, one for the men, another for the women, and still another for the disabled. How come it can't hire janitors to keep the comfort rooms clean? Talk about gender sensitivity and sanitation. Can't Malacañang and the officials of Light Railway Transit Authority and the Department of Transportation and Communications do something about this?

When I finally got back to my auntie's residence in Pasay City, I immediately told my relatives about the horrible experience. I was astounded to learn that many of our friends and relatives working in Manila had suffered UTI or bladder infection from the dirty comfort rooms of the LRT.

The Philippines is ranked sixth among gender sensitive countries. It is an awardee for gender sensitivity with a public transport system that is insensitive to the different and sensitive needs of genders?

My questions are:

1. Have Malacañang, DOTC and LRTA offficials taken an LRT ride?

2. Can't they solve this simple problem that calls for the installation of not-so-costly but very important facilities?

--LYM RELAMPAGOS ONGOY, Block 2, Lot 36, Bayside View Village, Cagangohan, Panabo City, Davao del Norte

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