The Department of Health-Ilocos Region hailed sanitary engineers and sanitation inspectors as the unsung heroes in public health for their contribution to environmental health and sanitation services and the implementation of the Zero Open Defecation (ZOD) Program during the first face-to-face Regional Environmental Health and Sanitation Summit held in Lingayen, Pangasinan on March 24, 2023.
A total of 26 sanitation inspectors were given service awards, and another 100 were given achiever awards in recognition for their efforts and support in the implementation of ZOD program in their municipalities.
Out of 116 municipalities, there are already 48 certified ZOD local government units (LGUs) municipalities, a total of 38.4 percent regional accomplishment.
Dr. Kai R. Sibayan, Regional Environmental and Occupational Health Manager, who led the conduct of the summit, said that the capacities of municipal sanitation inspectors must be upgraded to include management and operation response pandemic should be institutionalized, as these measures will motivate them to work harder and discharge their duties with pride and dignity.
“We saw the hardship and the sacrifice of our sanitation engineers and sanitation officers especially at the height of the pandemic. They were deployed in quarantine centers to lead in the disinfection and conduct of WASH [Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene] activities in their respective local government units,” Dr. Sibayan said.
“They are the ones responsible for our clean and safe surroundings. They worked to provide community service regardless of the increased risk of exposure they faced every day. And we are giving them their due recognition at this summit,” Sibayan emphasized.
Sanitation Inspectors are among the first responders in every recent emergency. Their job is to prevent infection outbreaks and diseases in the community by implementing waste management activities to mitigate health issues and concerns.
There are a total of 210 Sanitary Engineers and Sanitation Inspectors in Region 1.
“Much has been said acknowledging the untiring and unprecedented persistent efforts of our health workers during the pandemic, but sanitation workers are not given their due attention. Together with our health workers, our sanitation officers, garbage collectors, and other informal workers are silent working hard to prevent the spread of Covid in the barangays,” Assistant Regional Director Rodolfo Antonio M. Albornoz stated in his inspirational message.
“These sanitation inspectors are the unsung warriors that maintain clean, healthy, and safe surroundings for us. They have also placed their lives on the line at par with medical doctors and nurses. They are the ones in charge of disinfecting health facilities and we cannot deny the fact that they are also among the most vulnerable among the group of frontliners.”
Albornoz also expressed his gratitude to all the sanitation officers and assured that the regional office will continue to provide technical support in ensuring sustainable sanitation programs in the region.