BACOLOD CITY – At least 20 villages in Negros Occidental province have received cash incentives of PHP20,000 each for achieving zero open defecation (ZOD) status in 2022.
The granting of incentives is part of the continued campaign of the Provincial Health Office to promote ZOD in all of the province’s 601 barangays in line with the Department of Health’s aim to achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation.
“A ZOD barangay means all its residents already have access to toilets,” said Dr. Jessica Fama, assistant provincial health officer, in an interview during the awarding rites for the Best ZOD Barangays held in the Hospital Operations Department conference room at the Provincial Capitol here Thursday afternoon.
PHO data showed only 72 out of the 601 villages in Negros Occidental have been declared as having ZOD status.
“There are still many more. We ask the others to put an effort to become a ZOD barangay. In fact, this 2023, the provincial government has allotted a substantial budget for the ZOD program,” Pama added.
A ZOD status is achieved when households in a particular barangay have access to sanitary toilet facilities and stopped the practice of open defecation, which results in zero human feces exposure in the environment.
Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, who led the awarding of the cash incentives, urged the barangay officials to maintain their ZOD status and encourage neighboring villages to achieve the same as well.
This year’s cash incentive recipients included Balingasag in Bago City; Sto. Rosario in Binalbagan; Calubang, Consuelo, Delicioso, and Manalad in Ilog; Bulad in Isabela; Barangay I in Kabankalan City; Araal and Balabag in La Carlota City; Buanvista Gibong, M. H. Del Pilar, Poblacion I and Recreo in Pontevedra; Barangays III and IV in San Carlos City; Barangay II in Silay City; Zone 4 and Zone 9 in Talisay City; and Barangay XVI of Victorias City. (PNA)