By Roi Lomotan
DAUIN, Negros Oriental (PIA) – The municipality of Dauin could be the first town in Negros Oriental to be declared as champion of the Zero Open Defecation (ZOD) campaign.
This is based on the initial monitoring conducted by the Provincial Technical Working Group (PTWG) on ZOD in the said town today.
The PTWG visited three towns in Negros Oriental for the first round of ZOD monitoring. Aside from Dauin, the group also went to Siaton and Zamboanguita towns.
The PTWG sat with their local counterpart and some officials in Dauin and discussed the status of ZOD campaign of the town.
The group found out that the municipal government had already crafted and approved an ordinance prohibiting the practice of open defecation and designating a technical working group that will address the issue.
Rural Sanitary Inspector Gaudiosa Tubat also reported to the PTWG that as of Nov. 17, of the 6,230 households in Dauin, only 571 of them do not have access to toilet facilities in their houses while the bigger half which is 5,659 households have already funcitonal toilets in their homes.
Some of the barangays that still have high number of households with no toilets are Barangay Tugawe with 55 households, Barangay Maayong Tubig with 78 households, Barangay Masaplod Sur with 31 households and Barangay Tunga-tunga with 37 households.
In Apo Island, which is considered as Negros Oriental’s premier diving attraction to tourists, around 20 homes still have no-functional comfort rooms. Tubat explained that these are households with broken or unusable toilets.
But despite these figures, the PTWG believes the number of households in Dauin with no toilets are still in a manageable level compared to the data they got from Siaton with 5,738 households without toilet in Siaton and 1,317 households with no toilets in Zamboanguita.
The group is also positive that Dauin can achieve a Zero Open Defecation town status early next year.
Dr. Edgardo Barredo, representative of the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) in the PTWG emphasized that it would be for the benefit of Dauin if the town will be declared open defecation free since sanitation is one of the major concerns of tourists.
Aside from this, Dauin is the home of different beach resorts and earns a lot through tourism.
Meanwhile, Tubat shared with the PTWG that one reason some households still don’t have toilet facilities is the lack of funds to build a structure for comfort rooms.
The PTWG suggested that resorts can have “Adopt a barangay” program as part of their corporate social responsibility where they can distribute toilets or counterpart in building toilets to homes that have no access to toilets.
Aside from this, they also suggested that Municipal Technical Working Group (MTWG) shall continue to conduct Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) programs to impart to barangay residents the importance of avoiding the practice of ZOD.
Dr. Barredo noted that what is important here is people have behavioral change.
The group also suggested to their local counterparts to focus first on one barangay and if it becomes totally an open defecation free barangay, it could be a show window or model to other barangays with ZOD problem.
The MTWG must also craft a spot map on the households with no toilets for easier identification.
On the other hand, the PTWG lauded the municipal government for its efforts in mobilizing barangay health workers, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) municipal coordinators and other municipal government staff for their efforts in pursuing ZOD campaign in their municipality.
Tubat disclosed that some communities or households have already understood the importance of not practicing open defecation.
In the village where they call “Little Tondo” people have already signified their interest in installing toilets.
In Barangay Poblacion in District 2, only three houses do not have toilets and in Barangay Boloc-Boloc, only four houses have not toilets but these families already promised to construct comfort rooms before the year ends.
Aside from the abovementioned towns, the PWTG is also set to visit La Libertad, Manjuyod and Bais City on Nov. 18 and Pamplona, Tanjay City and Mabinay on Nov. 20. (mbcn/ral/PIA7-Negros Oriental/This article was first published at PIA website on Nov. 17, 2015)