MinDA to help Davao Oro build bulk water facility

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 27 December) – The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) will assist Davao de Oro, formerly Compostela Valley, construct a P300 million bulk water project next year to improve access to potable water, MinDA Undersecretary Janet Lopoz said Thursday.

She noted that MinDa allocated P500,000 for the feasibility and engineering study for the bulk water supply system.

Based on the agreement with the provincial government, Lopoz said the agency would assist the province in project development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and skills enhancement for project sustainability.

The official admitted that the issues relating to the absence of water supply in several communities in the provinces pose a hindrance to enhancing productivity and addressing poverty.

She said that MinDA would also help the local government access funds for the project.

Earlier, MinDA chair Emmanuel Piñol said the Development Bank of the Philippines would provide a P300 million loan to the province for the construction of the project, which will benefit households in Nabunturan, Montevista and Monkayo.

He said the project is part of the recently launched Mindanao Water Supply Program that aims “to contribute to attaining peace, prosperity and poverty reduction to isolated and remote areas in Mindanao through the provision of water supply for drinking and irrigation.”

The project seeks to “contribute to the weak agricultural productivity due to the lack of access to production areas, processing centers and farm-to-market roads, including access to water supply for drinking and irrigation,” according to a MinDa briefer.

Piñol said they are working to improve access to clean water in Mindanao.

“The launching of the Mindanao Water Supply Program intends to address an oftentimes neglected or overlooked problem in the country – the lack of access to safe and potable water,” he said.

Piñol also said 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.

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 the 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 or Italy.

He said another component of the program is the development of the solar-powered irrigation system for agriculture. The implementation of the MinDA Water Supply Program will commence next year, which will be implemented in collaboration with local government units, according to him.