Bong Dela Rosa (right), Barangay Captain Edmundo Oghayon (middle), and Community organizer Vannesa Apilan (left) lead the ribbon-cutting in the inauguration of the water refilling station in Barangay Culandanum in Bataraza. (Photo courtesy from RTNMC Facebook page)

Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) and village officials jointly inaugurated Wednesday a water refilling station that will provide a less expensive and convenient solution to the residents’ need for clean drinking water in Barangay Culandanum in Bataraza municipality.

RTNMC’s Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) provided funding for the water refilling station, the first to be put up in the barangay, according to its community relations manager, Reynaldo dela Rosa.

It is part of the company’s effort to promote the benefits of reusable water containers over single-use plastic bottles, as well as to prevent another outbreak of diarrhea in the barangay.

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Water refilling station at Barangay Culandanum (Photo courtesy of RTNMC Facebook page)

Dela Rosa stated that the project, which cost P1 million and was funded by the SDMP 2021 budget, will give additional revenue to Culandanum residents.

“This is the primary purpose of SDMP, bigyan sila ng kabuhayan para kahit wala na ‘yong industriya nang pagmimina ay mapalitan ito ng ibang kapaki-pakinabang na industriya,” Dela Rosa said.

Diarrhea outbreaks have been reported in the barangay since the 1990s, which have been linked to polluted water and poor sanitation. Rural communities, according to barangay captain Edmundo Oghayon, continue to struggle to access safe drinking water.

Water refilling station at Barangay Culandanum (Photo courtesy of RTNMC Facebook page)

He also said that the barangay council plans to earn from the refilling station as a small business to deliver water liters to outlying towns and nearby barangays that lack access to clean water like Culandanum.

“I-dedeliver namin ito sa mga tindahan sa barangay namin at maging sa karatig-barangay dito. Ibebenta namin ito ng mas mura upang maibenta nila sa ibang tao ng mas mura rin. Lalo na sa ating mga katutubo na halos walang mapagkunan ng malinis na tubig,” Oghayon said.

Oghayon noted that the water refilling station is still waiting for its mayor’s and sanitary permits to be approved before it can begin operations.

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