Yay or nay?: What Pinoys think of fee policies for public restroom use

July 7, 2023 - 3:49 PM
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Toilet seat
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The maintenance fees of restrooms in shopping malls were discussed online following the Manila City government’s order to probe this practice.

A report said Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna-Pangan ordered an investigation on Wednesday, July 5, citing the charging of fees for restroom use as “anti-poor.”

In a statement, Lacuna-Pangan said that such practice ran counter to the purpose of public restrooms in malls.

“It is anti-poor and runs counter to regulations the local government had set to govern their operations,” she was quoted in the report as saying.

Lacuna-Pangan also directed Manila City Administrator Bernie Ang to warn mall owners against implementing fee policies on their restrooms.

The report said that Ang acted on a complaint by a customer who was charged P20 for toilet use but the receipt indicated the fee was only P10.

The mall was not identified.

“The mall concerned additionally committed a wrongdoing by issuing a receipt that states P10 when the customers are being charged P20,” the official was quoted in the report as saying.

Ang said in the report that permits given to mall owners include the mandate to provide facilities that the public is free to use. These include public restrooms.

He said that mall owners could be held liable for the violation of conditions in these permits as penalties for implementing fees on public restroom use.

Moreover, this could also lead to the possible closure of their establishments.

This probe into the charging of restroom use garnered mixed reactions on social media.

Some Filipinos welcomed it. They said that public restrooms should be free to use.

“All public washrooms must be free to use,” a Twitter user said.

Others, meanwhile, felt okay with fees as long as the restrooms are kept clean and tidy.

“I think it’s just normal nowadays that maintenance fees are collected after using their toilet. Cleanliness and orderliness make it a habitable place not unless private malls charge exorbitant fees,” a Filipino tweeted.

“For me, it’s all right to charge a fee for using a public toilet. As long as that fee is being used for the maintenance and cleanliness of public toilets,” another Twitter user said.

Charging fees for restroom use is being implemented in many establishments for years. These include restaurants, shopping malls, and even bus terminals.

The money collected from this is used to help pay for the upkeep of these facilities, especially those outside shopping centers.