MinDA plans to put up desalinization facilities in BARMM, Zambo

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 6 Dec) – The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) plans to put up desalinization facilities in the island communities of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and Zamboanga Peninsula to bring safe and potable water to underserved communities there, MinDA chair Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol said on Friday.

MinDA Secretary Emmanuel Piñol. MindaNews file photo by GG BUENO

During the launch of the Mindanao Water Supply Program at the Acacia Hotel Davao in Lanang, Piñol said his agency seeks to address the water supply issue in several isolated and remote communities, a problem “often neglected and overlooked in the country.”

Under this new program, Piñol said the desalinization technology is one of the solutions being eyed by the government to increase people’s access to clean water, along with source development, communal water system, and household level water system.

He said the desalinization technology, which removes salt and other minerals from water, would be viable for the island provinces of Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, and Basilan in BARMM, and other island communities in Zamboanga Peninsula with little to no access to safe and potable drinking water.

For the technology, Piñol said the government can choose from the desalinization technology offered by Israel, China, and Italy.

The implementation of the MinDA Water Supply Program will commence next year, which will be implemented in collaboration with local government units, he added.

In Sitangkai, Tawi-tawi, residents living in water communities called “punduhan” rely only on the rain for their drinking water. MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

Piñol said another component of the program is the development of the solar-powered irrigation system for agriculture.

“We are sort of rushing this because next year, there is projection by PAGASA that there is going to be another round of El Niño.

“If we don’t have preparations we’ll be hit again [by the drought],” he said.

In a briefer released by MinDA, the program “aims to contribute to attaining peace, prosperity and poverty reduction to isolated and remote areas in Mindanao through provision of water supply for drinking and irrigation.”

It said that “contributing to the weak agriculture productivity is the lack of access of production areas to processing centers and market, farm-to-market roads, including access to water supply for drinking and irrigation. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)