El Nido, PALAWAN — This town’s state-of-the-art sewage treatment facility has earned praises from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), endorsing it as a twin purpose septage and sewage management solution for other local government units (LGUs) to replicate.
The newly-inaugurated facility was recognized by the DENR during an awarding ceremony Saturday led by acting environment secretary Jim Sampulna and governor Jose Alvarez, to commemorate the international World Water Day.
Sampulna said he was impressed by Gov. Alvarez’ determination to build the facility to address both sewage and septage disposal in the tourist town of El Nido.
“Ang ibang mga rehiyon hindi ganito ka-elaborate ang ginawa nila. I hope all local government [officials] will be like him (Alvarez),” Sampulna said.
The facility involves a network of collector tanks where establishments and residences can connect to gather and treat their waste.
‘Yong wastewater nila ay magflow by gravity papunta sa cluster collector tank then from there ay ipu-pump na ng off-grid solar pumping system natin papunta sa STP which is five kilometers away from here [sa bayan], explained Engr. Ann Michelle Cardenas, program director of Palawan Water, which spearheads the project together with the municipal government.
Alvarez said he pushed for the project, relying mainly on in-house expertise to save the government over P170 million in actual costs if these were contracted out.
“Because we want to maintain the best island in the world, that’s the main reason why we invested in this facility,” he said.
DENR Usec. Juan Miguel Cuna lauded Palawan for “setting the tone on what other LGUs should do.”
“I hope other regions would able to replicate it,” Cuna said.
El Nido Mayor Edna Lim said she wants their town to become a “model tourist destination” with its waste treatment facility.
Located in Sitio Batbat, Barangay Villa Libertad, the project was built at a cost of some P490 million mostly from funds of the provincial and municipal government.
Alvarez said the facility will ensure the maintenance of water quality around the coastal town.
“Yong capture natin doon sa run of water including ‘yong mga waste water ng mga squatters ay wala na ‘yon, hindi na pupunta sa Bacuit Bay. Kapag pumunta ka doon ay minimal na lang,” Alvarez said.
Five hotels have initially been connected to the system, including Cuna Hotel, Ced Pension, Sava Bar, Frendz Hostel Chislyk Inn, Devayn’s Inn, Spin Designer Hostel, Bulskamp Inn, Joyful Guest House, and The Apartment Hostel.
Mayor Lim said they are not yet charging the establishments until the rates are finalized.
“Sa ngayon wala pang collection dahil inaaral pa ang ordinance at pandemic. Pumayag naman si governor doon sa request natin na libre muna,” she said.