The British government has committed to support El Nido’s cleanup and rehabilitation initiatives to produce environmentally safe sewage water for disposal or reuse.
The commitment was expressed by British Ambassador Daniel Pruce and United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to the Philippines and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Community Richard Graham on February 21 at a special dinner event in Manila.
El Nido municipal administrator Rene Jay de la Calzada told Palawan News on Friday that Pruce and Graham will support their bid for the British government to help in the sewage treatment plant (STP) project that will be installed in two municipal natural water drainages.
He explained what will be supported is a filtration system which will further prevent larger particles from flowing into the natural waterways.
“Naimbitahan ang munisipyo sa isang dinner sa Makati Business Club ng British Embassy. Ibinigay natin doon ‘yong letter of intent ng El Nido municipal government to have a partnership with the British government through the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD). Fortunately, interesado din sila tumulong. Gusto na nilang makita ang proposal para sa STP,” De la Calzada said.
De la Calzada said the link between El Nido municipality and the two British government officials was established through the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) which is currently working with two STP developers from the UK.
He said it was the UK STP developers that made the connection possible.
He added they are now finalizing the proposal they will submit to Pruce and Graham through key persons they themselves provided.
“Wala pang amount kasi aalamin pa namin sa proposal. Kung saka-sakali magiging first STP project nila ito sa Pilipinas. Remember, El Nido is a huge town, di lang naman town proper ang pinag-uusapan sa rehab kung hindi buong bayan. Kahit may STP na tayo, di pa rin maiiwasana na may pollutants. Malaking bagay kung matutulungan tayo ng British government at positive naman sila na tutulong,” he said.
El Nido’s rehabilitation led by Mayor Nieves Rosento is focused on improving the quality of its wastewater before disposal from households and business establishments.
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In November 2018, the town was saved from being closed to the public and was ordered instead by Energy Sec. Roy Cimatu to implement a six-month rehabilitation project that includes the construction of a second STP to take care of more wastewater from the town’s sewer systems.
Earlier this month, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) announced that it is aiming to make Bacuit Bay “swimmable” again after it was found to have high fecal coliform levels.
The DENR will do this by declaring certain sites in Bacuit Bay as Water Quality Management Area (WQMA) based on Republic Act 9275 or the Clean Water Act of 2004.
Particularly targeted is the coastal area in Barangay Buena Suerte that has been discovered to be unfit for swimming due to elevated coliform levels.