DPS assures safety of food for work program volunteers

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio July 30,2019 - 03:16 PM

Volunteers help clean the Guadalupe river in barangay Ermita during the 39th urban and coastal cleanup. The river exits to barangay Ermita and is being considered for rehabilitation by the city government. | CDN file photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu City Department of Public Services (DPS) assured the public that volunteers for their food for work program will not be put in danger when cleaning the rivers of the city.

Engineer Joel Biton, the DPS head, said that they received negative feedback from netizens over a photo of a volunteer who was submerged in the garbage filled river up to the waist.

Biton said that many of the netizens were worried that the rivers were unsafe for the volunteers because of its polluted state, but he assured that the volunteers who submerged in the water were provided medicine to prevent infection.

Furthermore, the volunteers who already signed up for the next cleanup, will be vaccinated against common waterborne diseases including leptospirosis, to make sure that they will not be infected.

“The Cebu City Health led by Doctor Daisy Villa will be conducting immunizations for the volunteers so they will not get sick,” said Biton.

As of now, the DPS is in the process of acquiring more cleaning suits such as gloves and boots for the volunteers for a safer and more comfortable cleanup.

They also aim to acquire other safety gears such as ropes, vests, and rafts so the volunteers would no longer submerge in the dirty water to get the garbage and for a faster cleanup as well.

Read more: Basura Mo, Sardinas Ko program: Expensive but effective solution to city’s trash problem

Biton said that the food for work program was a continuation of the Basura Mo, Sardinas Ko program of the previous administration that had been continued to help the street dwellers and jobless find a means to earn a living while helping the city clean the rivers.

At least 20,000 boxes of sardines with 100 cans each have been left by the previous administration and the DPS targets to give them away in the food for work program before the year ends.

Three boxes are allotted for the group of volunteers who fills up a truckload of garbage in a day, a total of 5 tons. The number of sardines would also depend on the weight of garbage a volunteer has recovered from the rivers.

Read more: Food for work in Cebu City, open for street dwellers and volunteers

Currently, the DPS rounds up volunteers from street dwellers and have them registered as volunteers for the program. They launched the program on Sunday, July 28, at the Tinago River.

Eventually, they hope to engage the help of the barangays to widen the program and cover other rivers to clean them up.

The food for work program is only one part of the widespread river cleanup of the city as mandated by Mayor Edgardo Labella.

In the coming months, the mayor said there would be a “massive” dredging of rivers in the city to deepen them and collect the garbage that had accumulated for decades. /dbs

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