May 29, 2024

A separate toilet to address the hygiene needs of teenage female learners and students who are members of the LGBTQIA+ is being implemented by the Department of Education-Cordillera.
DepEd-CAR Gender and Development Programs head Sasha Joseph Daganos said the initiative is under the “Project Handog (Hygienic and opulent restrooms for girls) para kay Juana sa Cordillera + LGBTQIA”  which aims to build three toilets: Regular toilet for teenage females, another for teenage females to manage their menstrual hygiene, and the third is for the LGBTQIA+ learners.
A member of the LGBTQIA+, Daganos shared in a press conference the initiative was crafted based on the feedback gathered from the schools division offices of the region.
At present, the schools divisions of Ifugao, Benguet and Mountain Province have signified to implement the project with Ifugao having already constructed the three-toilet facility.
The Ubao National High School in Aguinaldo, Ifugao will soon launch the first three-toilet project in the region on March 20.
The regular toilet will have the usual amenities while the menstrual management toilet will have a shower room and another area for the female learners to change their menstrual pads or simply to rest as it will be provided with chairs.
The third room is designed for the LGBTQIA+ learners with one partition to cater to trans males and trans females.
Daganos said the project, specifically the toilet for LGBTQIA+ students, aims to prevent bullying of members of the LGBTQIA+ in schools.
Although there are no grave reports of the cases of bullying against LGBTQIA+ learners, she said there are still cases being reported which they needed to take action.
“We are into inclusivity, kung hindi natin gagawin ngayon kailan pa? We are thankful for the support of DepEd-CAR Director Estela Cariño in not only serving the needs of the boys and girls but also the LGBTQIA+ learners,” Daganos said.
DepEd-CAR is still conducting inventories on the number of students belonging to the LGBTQIA+ to craft more programs to cater to their needs more than the construction of toilets.
On the menstrual hygiene of female learners, Daganos said they are appealing to civil society organizations or private individuals who would like to donate or provide menstrual pads for these learners.
She said many teenage female learners struggle to provide for their own menstrual pads due to its high cost and this sometimes prevents them from going to school.
The construction of toilets is also part of the provision of DepEd for a clean restroom for students, as clean toilets are also a critical part of the learning experience of students.
The DepEd-CAR is hoping to see other schools divisions offices replicating the effort of Ifugao to cater to students’ hygiene needs. – Ofelia C. Empian