Cotabato province allots P23-M for water projects to help combat COVID-19

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 6 April ) — The Cotabato provincial government is allotting P23.7 million to ensure the availability of water supply for hand washing, disinfection and other sanitation measures to combat the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in the area, a top provincial official said.

Dr. Philbert Malaluan, manager of the Emergency Operations Center of the province’s Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19, said the budget, which was included in the Supplemental Annual Investment Plan, will include the purchase of two water trucks worth P11.2 million and the construction of a water refilling facility worth P12.5 million.

“We need to realize these projects very, very soon. Our need is also immediate.  How can we tell our people to do hand washing if water is not available in their areas,” Malaluan said.

He said the investment plan needs the approval of the Planning and Development Council (PDC), which is composed of the 17 municipal mayors and the lone city mayor in the province.

Malaluan, also a board member from the province’s second district, said that once the PDC approves the supplemental investment plan, amounting to P472 million, it will be submitted to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan for further deliberation and adoption.

He expressed hopes the mayors will support the anti-COVID-19 measures, including the projects for stable water supply in the province.

Engr. Sandy Alqueza, assistant general manager of the Metro Kidapawan Water District (MKWD), earlier said that majority of their facility was damaged by the series of powerful earthquakes during the last quarter of 2019.

“Since then, we have a very limited supply of water for more than 30,000 water connections in our service areas,” Alqueza said.

Based on the supplemental investment plan, the two water trucks would be used for water rationing, especially in areas with low or lack of water supply.

These areas include the towns of Makilala and elevated areas in Kidapawan City and Matalam, which were among those badly hit by last year’s tremors.

On the other hand, the water refilling station will be constructed in Matalam town, according to the investment plan.

Malaluan said the refilling station is located at least three blocks away from the national highway, which makes it highly accessible to the public.

He said they have identified the MKWD as the implementing agency for the water projects.