The number of poor households with no toilets in Western Visayas was highest in Negros Occidental, with Calatrava and San Carlos City topping the list of areas in the province with poor use of toilets.
This was disclosed in a report “Scaling Up Rural Sanitation in Negros Occidental Province: Why it Matters”, presented by Karl Galing, country coordinator for the Water and Sanitation Program of the World Bank, before the Provincial Development Council at Nature’s Village Resort in Talisay City Monday afternoon.
Non-use of toilets by rural folk is not due to lack of means to put up one, but is more of a behavioral issue and should be addressed with communication strategies, he said.
Calatrava, identified as the municipality with the highest statistics for poor toilet use, has been adopted by the World Bank as their pilot area for their project in Negros Occidental.
San Carlos City topped the list of cities and municipalities in the province with low toilet use, the report also said.
The report said a study conducted by the National Household Targeting System in 2011 showed that the highest number of poor households with no toilets in Western Visayas were in Negros Occidental with 71,531 or 67 percent, followed by Iloilo with 14,077 or 13 percent, and Antique with 12,246 or 11 percent.
Only 3 percent of poor households in Aklan, Guimaras and Capiz have no toilets, the same report said.
Galing said there are 2.4 billion people without access to sanitation globally, of which 630 live in East Asia. In the Philippines, 20 million Filipinos, or 70 percent, still do not have access to improved sanitation, of which 9.5 million live in rural areas, he added.
There are 38 million cases of diarrhea with 11,338 deaths per year in the Philippines, he added.
He called on local government units to set sanitation as a priority agenda.
“Poor sanitation has major economic impacts and a large part of these can be averted – health costs, deteriorating water quality and tourism,” he added.
“Poor sanitation has greater impact on the poor and vulnerable,” he added.*CPG