World Toilet Day 2022: Iloilo Province leads Zero Open Defecation in Western Visayas, more provinces needed to end open defecation
ILOILO CITY, 18 November 2022 – Almost one in four barangays in the Philippines have been certified as Zero Open Defecation (ZOD), with families in these communities having access to safe toilets and abandoning the practice of open defecation.
While progress has been made in several municipalities and cities across the country, the 2021 Field Health Services Information System (FHSIS) report shows that 6.3 million households still use unsanitary toilets or practice open defecation. Open defecation in communities especially in fields and waterways, can lead to diseases such as diarrhea and worm infections, and undernourishment and stunting in children.
In Iloilo province, over 2 million women, men and children have abandoned open defecation, showing a decreasing trend of acute watery diarrhea and acute gastroenteritis cases. This feat has earned the province the recognition of being the first province in Western Visayas to be certified ZOD status.
“Being proclaimed as a Province-wide Certified ZOD is a very long process that has required years of investment and the will of its leaders. For the Province of Iloilo to achieve this accomplishment speaks greatly about the long-term commitment of the LGUs of Iloilo led by our governor, Arthur Defensor Jr., together with our municipal Mayors. It is truly an amazing achievement for the Western Visayas Region,” says Adriano P. Suba-an, Regional Director of DOH Western Visayas.
On the occasion of the World Toilet Day, Iloilo renewed its commitment to continue prioritizing sanitation programs to reach Grade 2 basic sanitation level.
“There’s still a lot more work ahead for us. To reach G2 by 2028, it requires ensuring toilets and handwashing facilities are available anywhere Ilonggos go to in our community -- whether in schools, health centers, day care centers and other public places. At the minimum, we would need at least 167 million pesos to subsidize the cost of building a toilet, and we can only achieve this with the continued support of our local chief executives and development partners,” says Arthur Defensor Jr., Provincial Governor of Iloilo.
Lixil is donating 1,250 SATO pans to Iloilo province as part of the partnership with UNICEF to make affordable and appropriately designed toilets available to communities. Currently, there are over 137 schools in the province that do not have gender segregated toilets and 16,730 households that are sharing a toilet with another household.
“With Philippines living through the effects of climate change, toilets and sanitation systems must be built or adapted to cope with extreme weather events, so that they remain functional and groundwater is protected. We cannot undermine the benefits of having something so basic as safe toilets. Particularly for women and girls, toilets at home, school and at work help them stay healthy and safe, especially during menstruation and pregnancy,” says Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov, UNICEF Representative.
Iloilo province started implementing ZOD in 2014, months after typhoon Yolanda devastated parts of the province and left thousands of households without access to safe toilets. With support from UNICEF, the first 40 barangays in 8 municipalities were declared ZOD by 2015. The Provincial Government has since allotted 5 million pesos yearly to subsidize the cost of building a toilet.
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World Toilet Day celebration
- World Toilet Day celebrates toilets and raises awareness of the 3.6 billion people living without access to safely managed sanitation. It is about taking action to tackle the global sanitation crisis and achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030. The theme of World Toilet Day 2022 is ‘Sanitation and Groundwater’.
- A “safe toilet” is shorthand for a safely managed sanitation system, which means a toilet not shared with other households, that either treats or disposes of human waste on site, stores it safely to be emptied and treated off - site, or connects to a functioning sewer and treatment plant.
Iloilo Province and PhATSS implementation
- In February 2022, only 22 municipalities and 1 component city (Passi) in Iloilo province have been certified ZOD. The remaining 20 municipalities -- Ajuy, Alimodian, Anilao, Balasan, Barotac Nuevo, Calinog, Carles, Concepcion, Duenas, Dumangas, Estancia, Guimbal, Leganes, Leon, Maasin, Pavia, San Dionisio, San Enrique, Sta. Barbara and Sara, completed the ZOD verification and certification only in August 2022.
- The first ZOD certified municipality is Bingawan (07 March 2016), while the Municipality of San Enrique was the last certified ZOD (26 August 2022).
- Of all municipalities in the Province of Iloilo, Barotac Nuevo recorded as having 100% of households having their own toilets, while tourism hotspot Carles municipality recorded having 1,761 households (or 10% of households) still sharing toilets with others.
- Based on DepEd WINS Monitoring database, for school year 2020-2021, there are 137 schools without gender segregated toilets, 187 schools without group handwashing facility and 15 schools without access to clean drinking water in Iloilo province. (Access WINS Online Monitoring Dashboard)
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