The Provincial Government of Lanao del Norte through the Provincial Health Office in partnership with the Department of Health recognizes the effort of Eight Municipalities in sustaining to implement the Zero Open Defecation program in an awarding ceremony on July 10, 2018 at Riana’s Catering Services at Mindanao Civic Center Sports Complex, Sagadan, Municipality of Tubod.

Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Melania Untao welcomes Governor Imelda ‘Angging’ Quibranza-Dimaporo and Committee Chairman on Health and Sanitation, Sangguniang Panlalawigan Honorable Board Member Abdul Harris Umpa Ali, the representatives from the Municipalities of Bacolod, Mayor Rosa D. Olafson of Baroy, Lala, Kapatagan, Vice Mayor Rudyrik B. Patalinghug of Sapad, Salvador, Sultan Naga Dimaporo and Tubod including the Barangay Chairmen of Alegria, Babalaya, Mate, Kahayag, Pange, Maliwanag, Andil, San Isidro Lower and Lala Proper, Curvada, Mapurog, Inasagan, Campo Islam, Pinpin, Kalilangan, and Licapao.

Dr. Untao expressed gratitude to the Provincial Chief Executive for the continuous support to the programs implemented by the Provincial Health Office and the Department of Health. According to her, “Governor Angging has always been active in providing assistance to PHO. I approached the Governor for the procurement of grass cutters intended as prizes to the barangays identified as Zero Open Defecation, right there and then, Governor Angging approved it, and this shows how supportive our Governor is.”

The objective of the ceremony is to recognize and appreciate the concerted efforts of the local leaders from the bottom-up, as well as advocate and educate the people in the community of the importance of sanitation. To make the program effective it needs the Support of the Local Leaders, Participation of the Community, Intensify Advocacy and Education and Linkage between interrelated agencies (National, Provincial and Municipal Government, Non-Governmental Organizations and Private Sectors).

Board Member Ali emphasized the value of clean water. Contaminated water contributes to the increase number of persons affected by waterborne diseases in the province. The active Board Member encouraged the Municipal Health Officers, and the Rural Health Units to step up the program with the help of the Municipal Officials to make the entire Province of Lanao del Norte attain Zero Open Defecation.

Provincial Governor Imelda ‘Angging’ Quibranza-Dimaporo was happy to see the number of barangays has increased in implementing the program and hopes that more barangays will join to achieve Zero Open Defecation. The Governor assured that this will be taken up in the next Provincial Development Council meeting to challenge the Municipal Mayors to take the program seriously and coordinate with their barangays for the success of the program.

Dr. Untao chooses the grass cutters as reward to the barangays as a tool needed for environmental management in cleaning their surroundings and for beautification of their community. Grass cutter will be use to cut the bushes where insects carrying diseases lives and discourage individuals using it as their toilet. PIO-LDN