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Should bidets be installed in all public toilets in Cebu City? Councilors raise concerns on proposed ordinance

By: Niña Mae C. Oliverio - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | August 31,2023 - 09:47 AM


If a proposed ordinance gets approved, public CRs in Cebu City will be required to install bidets.

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Some concerns were raised on the proposed ordinance of the installation of bidets in all public toilets or restrooms in malls, hospitals, and other similar establishments during its public hearing on Wednesday, August 30, 2023.

The ordinance was proposed by Councilor Rey Gealon on May 10, 2023.

In the public hearing during the council’s regular session on Wednesday, two speakers were invited to give their comments on the said proposal and it received some discussions among the councilors.

The speakers were Zenaida Juntilla, a human resource staff representing the Gaisano Capital South, and Richard Sarmiento, the mall manager of Robinsons Galleria Cebu, representing the Robinsons Land Corporation.

Both shared the same concerns. They said that should the proposal be approved, it will be “an additional expense” for them.

Juntilla clarified that they are not against the proposed ordinance but admitted it will mean additional cost on their part.

Sarmiento, on the other hand, said if the proposed ordinance will be implemented as soon as possible, it would be “harsh” on their side, noting an additional cost on their operational expenditure.

He also noted that they are still recovering from the effects of the pandemic and Typhoon Odette in 2021.

Consequently, he requested for an extension of the compliance if the council approved the proposal.

A bidet is a bathroom fixture that uses a concentrated stream of water to clean one’s bottoms after using the toilet.

Concerns on bidet

Some councilors have raised concerns after hearing the side of the speakers.

Councilor Pancrasio Esparis asked Sarmiento how much the installation of bidets would cost them. Sarmiento said that the cost of a bidet is more or less P1,000 or P1,500 per unit.

In Robinsons Galleria Cebu, for example, he said that they have more or less 189 units for the mall alone.

He mentioned that some establishments might already have bidets in their comfort rooms because of their designs, but for the old malls, he thought that it might be an additional expense.

Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera, meanwhile, also raised concerns on water pressure.

“Basig naa’y bidet pero mag kabo gihapon ta,” Pesquera said. (Maybe even if there is a bidet, we would end up using a dipper.)


Meanwhile, Councilor Nestor Archival Sr. expressed a concern on the amount of water consumption if bidets are used.

Archival said that it would be “disadvantageous” for the people who do not have an idea how to use bidets.

“If people don’t know how to use the bidet, this is just something like disadvantageous and more costly,” the councilor said.

But Sarmiento said this can be solved with signages to guide people how to use bidets.

Pesquera also raised concern on the type of water that will be used for bidets, whether it would be Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) water, brackish water, rain water, or recycled water.

She noted that determining the type of water is important to identify the pH level or how acidic the water might be as it would affect the people’s health.

Councilor Franklyn Ong, for his part, said that the establishment would need another line of water source for the bidet should the proposal be implemented.

Ong also agreed to what Pesquera raised because he believes that women are “very sensitive.”

Moreover, Archival suggested to Sarmiento to conduct a study first in their establishment because if the proposal is implemented, it would be a problem on the latter’s part.

With all the concerns raised by the councilors, Sarmiento later admitted that he just wanted to be an observer on that day because he did not have their company’s position paper.

Sarmiento said that he still has not discussed it with his team because he only was notified for the public hearing in the morning.

The public hearing was scheduled in the afternoon at 1 p.m.

Had he only had the time to have his position paper, he would have checked it with the team.

The invitations were sent to invited establishments on August 15, according to the secretariat.

“This is a public hearing and we expect that the invitees here are well-versed of the ordinance already,” Archival said.

Submit position paper

To resolve the discussion, Acting Vice Chairman Donaldo Hontiveros requested Sarmiento to have their position paper after the public hearing.

Meanwhile, Councilor Phillip Zafra informed the council regarding the position paper submitted by the Ayala Land Incorporated.

Zafra said that most concerns about the members of the council were also raised by Ayala.

He said that Ayala was not in favor of the proposed ordinance.

He added that Ayala suggested having one cubicle having a bidet instead, should the proposal be approved.

In addition, Pesquera requested the speakers when making their position paper to include the cost of water and not just on the value of investment on the installation of bidets.

“We don’t have infinite supply of water, especially here in the city of Cebu,” Pesquera said.


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TAGS: Cebu City, city council, hygiene, proposed ordinance

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