POLLOC Port, Parang, Maguindanao (MindaNews / 31 July) – “A dream come true,” Bangsamoro Chief Minister Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim said at the inspection and launching Friday of the first three of 10 desalination machines purchased by the Bangsamoro government to provide potable water for island communities in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi.
Ebrahim and Local Governments Minister Naguib Sinarimbo, along with officials of the Commission on Audit and the suppliers launched on Friday, July 30th the operation of the multi-million water salination machines.
He said he is aware of the use of desalination machines in Saudi Arabia and other countries but not in the Philippines. Now the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has desalination machines, “thanks to the effort of Minister Sinarimbo who gave priority to this project after listening to the plight of the people in those areas from a previous visit,” Murad said.
The first three of the ten salination machines will be delivered to the towns of Panglima Tahil, Pandami and Pata in the province of Sulu.
Sinarimbo said these towns have “since time immemorial extensively drilled parts of their land but no potable water source could be found.”
He said residents in these areas are forced to spend more as they need to travel by boat to the other islands to buy drinking water or just wait for rain to come.
The three desalination machines will be shipped to Sulu next week on boar da Navy ship along with three fire trucks for the island provinces of Sulu, Tawi-tawi and Basilan, Sinarimbo said. The seven other desalination machines are still in transit.
The cost of the desalination machines supplied by Wet Equipment Technology Industries Inc. (WET) is 144-million pesos from the 2020 contingency fund of the Office of Chief Minister.
Sinarimbo said the machines can be operated by electricity or a generator set and depending on the machine capacity for the community’s needs, can generate up to 22,000 gallons or 83,279 liters a day which can supply 10,000 residents.
The Bangsamoro government will sign a Memorandum of Agreement with the recipient local government units for the maintenance of the machines.
A generator set with a 45 KV power is part of the desalination machine package. The local government takes charge of the 1,500 pesos fuel cost for six-hours a day operation.
The supplier, Wet Industries Inc. has committed to assist technically anytime and provide sufficient filters and other needs.
Part of the launching rites on Friday was to test the desalination machine at the Polloc Port itself, draw water from the sea, desalinate it and drink it.
Officials and visitors tasted the water that came from the sea and offered to celebrate the launch. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera / MindaNews)