BONGAO, Tawi-Tawi – “Provide the people of Bongao and its adjacent towns the best potable water that the government can give.”
This is the marching order given by President Aquino to Secretary Emil K. Sadain of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DPWH-ARMM).
According to Sadain, his office is just waiting for the green light from the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) to start the P300 million water project in the province of Tawi-Tawi.
The national government, he said, has allotted some P240 million, and another P60 million from the ARMM, or a total of P300 million to jumpstart the project that is located some six kilometers from the commercial center of Panglima Sugala in Tawi-Tawi.
“My office is just waiting now for the go signal of LWUA that recently conducted an on-site inspection of the Tubig Malum River in Panglima Sugala, the water source for the project,” Sadain said.
Once LWUA issues a “go signal,” the DPWH, along with the provincial and the municipal government officials, will immediately hold the groundbreaking rites for the P300 million water project, Sadain said.
Included in the project, Sadain said, is the development of the water source in Panglima Sugala, construction of a reservoir, transmission and distribution lines and piping.
The water system project, when started, would take about eight to 12 months to complete, the DPWH-ARMM secretary said.
Sadain also urged the provincial government to adopt a resolution declaring the water source as “protected watershed areas.”
The move guarantees continuous and clean potable water for the people of the province, he said.
Sadain visited twice the Malum River, also known as the Rio Hondo River, at Sitio Malum in Barangay Magsaggaw, Panglima Sugala.
He said the water coming from the river will be tapped as source of potable water for the province, having a sufficient volume of freshwater that could cater to a growing population.
The river, he said, stretches downstream from Barangay Marang-Marang in Languyan, also in Tawi-Tawi, to Barangay Magsaggaw, passing through Barangay Kulapi towards the southern tip of Panglima Sugala.
Sadain said President Aquino’s order to serve the people here with a good potable water supply is aimed at protecting the people of the province, particularly of this town, from contracting kidney trouble or disease due to the “high salinity content” found in the potable water here.