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ROUGH CUTS | Creating livable communities

ZOD-certified – news headline.

Yes, this is what the City Health Office (CHO) is aiming at for Davao City. Is it attainable? Well, it depends on the government how serious it is in the drive.

We are not optimistic that this ambition by the local government of Davao City is achievable because until now there are still several squatter agglomerations on the city’s shorelines such as the ones in Sasa-Tibungco –Lasang stretch, and at the shorelines of Barangay Leon Garcia to Jerome in Agdao, and in the Matina Aplaya area.

What is ZOD in the first place? It stands for Zero Open Defecation – that is discarding one’s human waste anywhere in the open or even in enclosed spaces but the waste goes direct to the biggest septic tank of all – the sea water in the shorelines.

Of course if the local government has the appropriate program on sanitation there is possibility that open defecation can be minimized even in informal settler colonies both inland and along the shores.

One project than can address the open defecation especially in squatter areas or in some rural communities, is by putting up of community toilets in areas concerned the number of which depends on the population density in the community.

These public toilets of course must be provided with water and the responsibility of its upkeep shall be clearly defined. The barangay government must be authorized to set up rules on the use of the public toilets so its maintenance can be assured.

It is our take that without a clear sanitation program and its attendant cleanliness projects the ZOD efforts are good only in words. it cannot even possibly attain its take-off.

We are happy to note that the City Government of Davao now appears to be dead serious in its desire to address the burgeoning urban housing and development problem.

Recently we learned that the city government is converting the city housing unit into a full-fledged local government department. Previously it was under the umbrella of the City Planning and Development Office (CPDO).

Indeed it has to be created as a new department so that the appropriate number of staff for the office and field operations will be able to cope with the demands of the office.

Initially the City Housing Department is headed by Ms. Estela D. Malate, an old hand in the city’s housing and resettlement initiatives. At the moment the department OIC is assisted by a few plantilla personnel and some other “job contract” category employees. But apparently and from the looks of it Ms. Malate and staff are able to handle the initial bumps of the new office.

We were also informed that sometime in March or April this year, the new department will be able to augment its manpower especially those needed to conduct field surveys and/or validate those earlier accounted residents who need to be relocated and provided decent homes.

But based on what we have observed in the activities of the office when it was still with the CPDO and now that it is in the transition stage, all indications show that Ms. Malate, though still officer-in-charge, considers her job one serious responsibility that cannot just be taken for granted.

What more if the Mayor has full trust in her capability and appoints her officially as the head of the Department? We will surely have no doubt that his motivation to achieve the mandate of her office will be further boosted.

We are looking forward to have a more productive City Housing Department very soon and the rise of better conceived and harmonized housing program and projects in the city.



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