Setting Up Citywide and Inclusive Sanitation Investment Program in Tacloban City

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A kickoff meeting and site visits were conducted on 20-21 September 2022 to mark the start of a CDIA-supported project preparation study (PPS) that will develop a citywide and inclusive sanitation investment program in Tacloban City, Philippines.

Mayor Alfred Romualdez led the activities, together with officials from the City Planning and Development Office and various other government agencies. Lara Arjan, ADB Project Officer in charge of CDIA led the ADB-CDIA delegation from Manila.

At the meeting, the CDIA team gave an overview of the activities leading to the preparation of priority investments on fecal sludge management in Tacloban North resettlement areas and commercial wastewater treatment to alleviate the sanitation issues in the city, specifically on regular emptying of septic tanks and fecal sludge management, thereby improving public health and protecting the five bays surrounding it.

The PPS will be implemented in two stages over eight months. As a starting point, CDIA will conduct a comprehensive review of the sanitation sector and related initiatives. It will then assess wastewater and fecal sludge treatment options. For the sub-projects prioritized by the city, CDIA will undertake a feasibility study and preliminary engineering design, along with corresponding financial, economic, gender, environmental, and social impact assessments.

The study will further investigate suitable financing schemes, such as public-private partnership, via a loan application to the National Septage and Sewerage Management Program, or using their own city funds.

As Tacloban is highly vulnerable to climate change, the team will carry out climate risk and vulnerability assessment of the sanitation infrastructure. They will also prepare a capacity building and institutional roadmap to address the gaps that can hinder the financial sustainability and proper operation and maintenance of the project.

Following the kickoff meeting, the CDIA team conducted site visits to city-owned facilities such as convention center, fish port, and public market, as well as the Tacloban North resettlement areas, where they found inadequate sanitation infrastructure in place, such as a lack of commercial wastewater treatment and unmaintained septic tanks that are now polluting the surrounding water bodies.

In the aftermath of the 2013 super typhoon Haiyan, considered one of the strongest typhoons to make landfall, Tacloban embarked on a recovery process that envisions a resilient and economically vibrant future. One of the flagship programs that has now come into fruition is the relocation of 16,000 families who used to live in high-risk coastal areas to a more resilient Tacloban North area. The relocation sites need to be provided with adequate sanitation services.

CDIA will assist the development of a comprehensive sanitation infrastructure necessary to support the continued growth and development of the city while making it more climate-resilient.

“The PPS will help address issues in the entire chain to ensure that adequate sanitation services are available to the city,” said Lara Arjan. “This project tells the story of resilience and of hope, and we are looking forward to a fruitful eight months of working together,” she added.



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