After ‘inspection trip,’ congressmen conclude: We need cleaner public toilets

MINDANAO STOP. The lawmakers are welcomed by local officials at Zamboanga del Sur. File photo from the House of Representatives

MINDANAO STOP. The lawmakers are welcomed by local officials at Zamboanga del Sur.

File photo from the House of Representatives

More than 9 months after their "inspection trip" of tourist spots all over the country, lawmakers from the House of Representatives adopted a resolution calling for cleaner public toilets in transportation terminals.

House Resolution 1418 is based on one of the major conclusions lawmakers made after their Western and Eastern Nautical Highway Expedition from March 17 to 27: that public restrooms along the routes to popular tourist spots are not hygienic enough. 

The resolution calls on the Department of Tourism (DOT) to "construct and maintain hygienic public restrooms within the eastern and western nautical highways in the country."

Authored by Malabon City Representative Federico Sandoval II, the measure aims to "promote tourism and safe travel for all, regardless of economic status or purpose of travel."

It urges the DOT, through the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), to allocate funds for the new and improved public restrooms.

Leyte 4th District Representative Lucy Torres-Gomez, also House committee on tourism chairperson, endorsed the resolution for plenary adoption. She is also a co-author of the resolution. 

The lawmakers cited their 11-day caravan as instrumental in the decision to make such a resolution.

Ranking members of the lower chamber, like House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, packed their bags as soon as Congress went on recess on March 17 to join the "expedition."

The lawmakers visited popular tourist spots and hotels in Calapan City in Oriental Mindoro; Boracay Island; Bacolod City in Negros Occidental; Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental; Dapitan in Zamboanga del Norte; Aurora; Cagayan de Oro; Dahilayan, Lantapan, and Malaybalay City in Bukidnon; Davao City; Samal Island; Butuan City; Tacloban City in Leyte; Legazpi City in Albay; and Quezon.

In Bukidnon, Fariñas even had time to go on the zipline at the Dahilayan Gardens and Resort. His Instagram video shows him flying through forest with the song Superman as background music.

Along the way, lawmakers met with their colleagues whose provinces they visited.

Two days after the trip, transportation committee chairperson and Catanduanes Representative Cesar Sarmiento called a panel hearing to discuss the initial findings of the trip which, he said, should become the basis for "the needed development programs as regards our ports, our sea vessels and our land transport system."

Alvarez denied the trip was a junket since they supposedly stayed within the budget allocated for out-of-town committee hearings. –