File photo of the sewage and solid waste treatment plant in El Nido. | PN file photo

A provincial lawmaker is advocating for the installation of sewage treatment plants (STPs) in each Palawan municipality.

Board member Roseller Pineda said in his resolution filed last Tuesday that with the continuous increase of population, local government units (LGUs) have to start developing their “respective sustainable sewerage and septage management plan to address the threat to Palawan water resources from huge volumes of untreated wastewater from household, run offs, business establishments, effluent and agricultural waste.”

He added that the province’s water quality must be addressed before it is too late due to the growing number of tourists.

“Ang tinatahak natin ay turismo kaya dapat maisama nang planuhin ng mga lokal na pamahalaan. Pero kahit wala yung turismo, dapat maging mahalaga at mapag-usapan na yung proper water treatment and more particularly yung STP,” Pineda told media in an interview.

Pineda further remarked that, in addition to increased visitor arrivals, Palawan’s population is also growing, making it even more important to construct a STP in each municipality.

He also emphasized the dismal state of El Nido, a popular tourist destination, in terms of water quality, despite the fact that it is now the sole town with a STP.

“Napakahalaga na katulad na lang sa El Nido kung saan pati yung groundwater ay contaminated na ng coliform. Halos ganoon din ang ginagawa natin sa ibang lugar like septic tank at drilling ng water system ng bawat bahay,” he explained.

“Pero kung mayroon tayong advanced development ng proper sewage system ng bawat lugar, isama na sa pagplano ay mahalaga at makikita natin ang magandang resulta in the future,” he added.

He also stated that, while he is now merely requesting that local governments investigate the issue, an ordinance is being developed to compel them to do so.

“Hopefully, later on magawaan ng ordinance pero sa ngayon, we are just calling the attention of the LGUs para magsagawa na. Maybe from the Provincial Development Council at sa Sangguniang Panlalawigan na rin, we can come up with an ordinance para ma-oblige ang mga LGU at mabigyan ng karagdagang pondo kasi mas maganda na mauna yan bago yung development,” he said.

“Maraming sistema na hindi naman kamahalan pero kung pwedeng gawin, mapangalagaan man lang at hindi magsabay-sabay yung mga poso negro at pag-drill ng tubig, magkaroon ng maayos na estero,” he added

He also claimed that, while Coron is in a similar predicament as El Nido, the local government has allocated funding and chosen a site for the development of its STP.

“Sa ngayon, yung mga resorts may mga undertakings na silang ginagawa with the DENR like pansamantalang treatment kung saan binubuhusan ng chemicals yung mga tangke pero hindi yun yung proper talaga,” he said.