P350M for toilets to combat polio

February 09, 2020

A House leader on Sunday said the Duterte administration will be  spending P350 million this year to put up thousands of new “sanitary  toilet facilities” to help suppress the resurgent polio virus that  spreads via the fecal-oral route.

The fresh funding is lodged in the budget of the Department of Health  (DoH) in the 2020 General Appropriations Act, but the money will be  released directly to the Department of Public Works and Highways  (DPWH), according to Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor,  chairperson of the House committee on public accounts.

“The DPWH will construct the toilets based on a list of locations  identified and specifications prescribed by the DoH,” said Defensor, also a vice chairperson of the House committee on health.

“Assuming the money is spent as it should be, based on a fixed cost of  only P20,000 per toilet, the P350 million should be enough to build  some 17,500 new public toilets where most needed,” said Defensor.

In a related development, House Assistant Majority Leader  and Quezon City Rep. Precious Hipolito Castelo reiterated her call for  a congressional probe into the implementation of the DoH’s anti-polio  vaccine program after a new case was recorded last month in her  district despite the nationwide vaccination against the disease.

Castelo cited the case of a child from Bgy. Batasan in her district  who was tested positive for Type 2 Polio by the Research Institute of  Tropical Medicine.

Castelo lamented the incident despite the Quezon City Health  Department’s inquiry that the victim received five doses of polio  vaccine, two of which were administered during the DoH’s nationwide  vaccination campaign.