No. of :

No. of Shares:

Currently viewed by: Marcus Rosit

Iloilo's ZOD campaign wins Galing Pook Awards

ILOILO CITY (PIA6) -- Iloilo province's zero open defecation (ZOD) campaign,  which highlights the commitment of the Iloilo Provincial Government, through the Provincial Health Office (PHO) in delivering better healthcare services and sanitation programs to the public, has been declared as one of the winners for this year's Galing Pook Awards.

Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor Jr., in a media interview on Friday, Oct. 13, 2023, said that the award received by the province proved that the campaign has been creating an impact on the lives of the Ilonggos.

“Kung tan-awon mo, at first, this is not a very attractive project, pero this is very important, amu na nagakalipay kita nga gin-recognize siya sang Galing Pook. This is very important, as this is good for the health and environment,” Defensor said, noting that the Galing Pook Awards recognized outstanding local governance initiatives, practices and projects in the country that made a significant impact in the communities.

The governor added that it is important to provide Ilonggos a better healthcare service as they are one of the essential resources of the province towards progress.

“Ang pinakaimportante naton nga resource is human resource, ang aton mga tao, and ang importante sa aton mga kasimanwa amu ang health. Maayo nga may preventive side kita, amu na ang nutrition and sanitation, dira nagasilod ang aton ZOD program sa sanitation,” he explained.

PHO head Dr. Maria Socorro Colmenares-Quiñon, who personally led the team in accepting the award on Oct. 12, also revealed that some provinces already expressed desire to replicate the campaign.

“Gakalipay gid kita kay naka-inspire kita and ma-replicate man ni sang iban kag 

PHO head Dr. Maria Socorro Colmenares-Quiñon leads the Iloilo delegation in accepting the 2023 Galing Pook Award from Galing Pook Chairperson Mel Sarmiento and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benhur Abalos on October 12, 2023. (Photo from Balita Halin Sa Kapitolyo)

damo na nga provinces ang naghambal nga ma benchmark sila sa province para sa ZOD campaign. Gusto gid naton nga magsunod man sila kay sa aton naging movement na ini kay may ara na community mobilization,” Colmenares-Quiñon said.

The PHO chief recalled that the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) first introduced ZOD to Iloilo after the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda in 2013 and the province started its campaign in barangay and municipal levels in 2015, ensuring that there will be no defection in open surroundings to prevent the contamination of water sources which could result in diseases such as typhoid, hepatitis, diarrhea, and amoebiasis, among others.

And in November 2022, Iloilo was conferred by the Department of Health with the ZOD Grade 1 status after all the 1,721 barangays in the province had been certified as ZOD villages, making Iloilo as the first province in Western Visayas and third in the country to eradicate the unhygienic practice.

Iloilo province's entry dubbed “Mobilizing Communities through People-Centered Zero Open Defecation (ZOD) Movement towards a Sustainable Sanitation” is one of the 10 Galing Pook Awardees this year. (Photo from Balita Halin Sa Kapitolyo)


Meanwhile, Defensor stressed the importance of behavioral adjustments of the public and improvements in facilities as key pieces for the province to sustain its ZOD status.

"In order for sustainability sa aton ZOD status, we must know the right way to use it. We must learn how to clean it and always, so those behavioral adjustments even as of now, we continue to struggle there and it will be a continuing campaign not only here in Iloilo but in the entire country (to practice it) so that we can sustain this campaign," he previously said.

Defensor also emphasized the equal importance of having a good water system in the barangays to address the challenges in contamination of water sources that affect the sanitation program of some towns; and for the province to proceed to the G2 status or the Basic Sanitation Status.

Every year, the provincial government allots P5 million for building of toilet and sanitation facilities as the province aims to reach the G2 status, wherein “households, schools, child development centers, and public institutional facilities have their own sanitary toilets that are functional; and communities properly manage animal excreta and properly dispose of their solid waste, in addition to maintaining the norm that open defecation is unacceptable."

The provincial government already talked with the LGUs and other stakeholders as part of the preparation, citing that Iloilo can only achieve the G2 status if everyone will stay committed to prioritizing the sanitation programs and with the continued support of LGUs and development partners.

“Gusto naton nga mas maayo pa gid ang cleanliness kag functionality sang facilities sang Ilonggos. From the household level, we will move to the facilities of the government, our schools, and commercial establishments and we want to achieve that nga maayo ang facilities naton for health, environment and tourism,” Defensor added. (AAL/JNH/PIA Iloilo)

About the Author

John Noel Herrera

Information Officer

Region 6

Feedback / Comment

Get in touch