By Roi Lomotan
NEGROS ISLAND (PIA) – The Department of Social Welfare and Development – Negros Island Region (DSWD-NIR) intensified the campaign against open defecation to its Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries in the region in the conduct of its Grand Pantawid Pamilya Caravan held here on November 29.
DSWD-NIR Regional Director Shalaine Marie Lucero said her office is highlighting the Zero Open Defecation advocacy of World Bank and the Department of Health (DOH) – NIR in the region in their caravan because of the high incidence of families with no access to toilet facilities.
Lucero cited that based on the records of UNICEF, there 31% of families in the region that practice open defecation.
On the other hand, based on the Listahanan data of DSWD-NIR, around 181,000 households out of 340, 000 poor families in NIR have no toilet facilities in their homes.
Listahanan is an information management system that identifies who and where the impoverished families in the country.
Director Lucero also said they focusing the campaign on Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries since the World Bank saw that interventions should also be targeted to Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries to improve their condition.
“In NIR we have a total of 191, 000 families who are covered with PP in that number we have 43,000 who have no access to toilets,” Lucero noted.
The DSWD official emphasized in her message to the participants at the culminating program held in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental that it is important to raise awareness on this because the issue on open defecation is related to the health and economic aspects of the family.
DOH-NIR Regional Director Emilia Monicimpo in her message during the program also pointed out that the issue is also about sanitation.
Moncimpo explained that poor sanitation can lead to sickness and if a person gets sick often, it would affect his performance at work, thus, bringing a negative impact to the family’s economic condition.
In the case of children, poor sanitation can also bring several health problems, she added.
“We have heightened our advocacy campaign and with this caravan, we are hoping that many families will have access to toilet facilities,” Lucero said.
DSWD municipal links and Local Chief Executives (LCEs) of different towns and cities in Negros Island joined the caravan.
In Negros Oriental, the caravan started in Dumaguete City then passing through different towns and cities going to Mabinay.
The caravan was joined by DOH-NIR OIC/Chief of Local Health Support Division Dr. Socrates Villamor, Valencia Vice Mayor Romeo Alviola, Bindoy Mayor Valente Yap, Mabinay Mayor Ernie Uy, Manjuyod Mayor Dr. Felix Sy, and Tayasan Mayor Susano Ruperto Jr.
A short program was held in Mabinay where Mayor Uy gave his message of support to DSWD and its partner agencies DOH and World Bank in this endeavor.
After this, the group went to Kabankalan City which is the convergence point with other municipal links and other LCEs from Negros Occidental.
Some vehicles of different Local Government Units (LGUs) were decorated with tarpaulins carrying the message “Unli Asenso Kapag May Inidoro” stressing the relation of sanitation and ensuring the health, safety and over-all wellbeing of the community.
Some had makeshift comfort rooms at the back as a design.
Meanwhile, Director Lucero shared some updates on the status of the towns in NIR that were chosen as pilot areas for the ZOD campaign.
She cited that the municipality of Bindoy in Negros Oriental has reached 99.9% ZOD status while the other towns in province like La Libertad reached78% ZOD status, Vallehermoso at 42%, and Mabinay at 75%.
For the municipality of Calatrava in Negros Occidental, from its 40 barangays there are 10 barangays that have reached 95% ZOD status.
Lucero recognized the efforts of the local stakeholders especially the Local Government Units (LGUs) in achieving this accomplishment.
However, she continued to challenge local leaders particularly the barangay officials to not only help capacitate their residents and Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries in this campaign but to also ensure cleanliness of the toilet facilities used by the community. (rmn/ral/PIA7-Negros Oriental/This article was first published at PIA Website on Dec. 2, 2016)