He said that with a stable supply of potable water, the community’s health and sanitation would improve, especially so because many children in the community have skin diseases.
The construction of the water system is a project of Ecoweb, Inc. in partnership with Caritas Australia. It is the fourth barangay to avail of potable water project this month.
Residents of Poona Piagapos’ Barangay Poblacion have been enjoying their new water system after its construction was done last month.
Like other barangays of Poona Piagapo, Pantaon is a conflict ridden barangay that has been experiencing a cycle of violence and dislocation. Recently, it was affected by all three wars that hit Lanao — the all-out war in 2000, then in 2003, and in August last year.
This place bereft of development and opportunities has been dubbed as a staging area of the MILF in its attacks in neighboring municipalities.
“We’ve been asking for water for so long and I say thank God, they are here to make this dream real,” said Liwa Macarimbang, head of the farmers’ association, as they gathered together in communal prayer.
“It will ease our lives from difficulties,” seconded Cabugatan Mamasaranao, a resident of the barangay.
As construction is ongoing and pipelines are being connected, community leaders, such as Datu Macarimbang and Sangcad Mamasao, assured Ecoweb and Caritas they will secure the engineers who would set up the ram pump water system.
Salem Andang, chairperson of the association of barangay chairmen, related that there had been attempts before provide water system in this area but people did not welcome the projects. “I’m glad that this NGO endured and sustained the hindering factors,” he added.
Andang opined that underdevelopment of his town is caused by poor governance, disunity and inability of the local government to deliver social services to residents. He noted that each barangay is only receiving P50,000 a month, which he said is insufficient for administrative, maintenance and operational .
Regina Antequisa, executive director of Ecoweb, lauded local residents for their unity, citing their determination to help transport construction materials despite landslides. “If we could show to the world that you have the commitment, cooperation and unity, then other organizations would really support to improve your lives here,” she said.
Local residents have been willing to allow the use of their animals, using them in bringing construction materials to the project site. (Violeta M. Gloria / MindaNews)