Sen. Cynthia Villar led the distribution of fishing boats and tri-bikes to residents of Baseco Compound in Tondo, Manila.
Kitchen utensils were also given to three schools in the area, namely; Sen Benigno Aquino Jr. Elementary School, Pres. Corazon Aquino High School, and Herminigildo J. Atienza Elementary School.
The distribution of 10 fishing boats, five tri-bikes and utensils was initiated by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR). BFAR is a partner of Villar and the Villar Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance (Villar SIPAG) in providing livelihood opportunities to Baseco residents through aquaculture.
"We are very thankful for the help and intervention dedicated to the improvement of Baseco and its residents. Soon, we can all be proud of our hard work and showcase Baseco as a model site for a community rehabilitation project coupled with urban agriculture, aquaculture and other livelihood projects," Villar said.
The day's activity also included the planting of 500 mangrove seedlings participated by representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Education, Department of Public Works and Highways, Metro Manila Development Authority, Kabalikat sa Kaunlaran ng Baseco, MBC-DZRH and the barangay officials of Gasangan.
Villar, chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Food and the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, also took the opportunity to thank government and private agencies who have been working with her years before the biggest Manila Bay rehab plan was conceived.
Since 2015, Villar has been returning to Gasangan, Barangay 649 in Baseco, a coastal community along Manila Bay, to conduct monthly clean up and tree-planting activities as well as to check on the progress of the construction of toilets.
After Villar raised the issue of poor sanitary conditions in Baseco, the Department of Health, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, City of Manila and Maynilad came together to launch the "Zero Open Defecation for Baseco Compound" project in May 2017.
As one of the densely populated barangays in Manila, Barangay 649 has a total population of 42,908. Of the 7,801 households, 80% have no access to a sanitary toilet facility.
At the beginning of the project, Villar has also taken the initiative to pave the street and build a communal septic tank. She also sought the commitment of authorities for the regular collection of garbage to prevent solid waste accumulation in Manila Bay.
Under the Zero Open Defecation program, DOH is the overall lead agency in the construction of 5,000 toilets with the DSWD leading the recruitment screening and selection of Pantawid Pamilya partner beneficiaries for cash-for-work who will serve as the primary workforce of the project.
Through the help of the Bureau of Soils and Water Management, Villar established urban gardens which has been the source of vegetables for residents' own consumption and livelihood. Recycling projects were also initiated in the area provided by the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission.
Source: Senate of the Philippines