WATER PROJECT. The Mindanao Development Authority and the Department of the Interior and Local Government are set to launch a $500-million worth Mindanao Rural Water Supply Project on November 22, 2019. The project aims to address the scarcity of water supply for drinking and irrigation in remote barangays of Mindanao and Palawan. Photo courtesy of MinDA

DAVAO CITY – To provide water supply in remote villages of Mindanao and Palawan, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) are set to launch the $500-million Mindanao Rural Water Supply project on November 22 here.

The program aims to establish Solar-Powered Water Supply and Desalination Facilities in barangays across Mindanao, including the island provinces of Sulu and Palawan, according to a MinDA press statement on Monday.

MinDa said the project materialized after DILG Secretary Eduardo Año and MinDA Secretary Emmanuel Piñol both agreed to jumpstart the ambitious project during an inter-agency meeting recently.

“Soon, each barangay in Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan will have clean water for drinking and irrigation,” Piñol said.

The solar-powered water supply project will be offered in three packages.

The first package is the solar-powered rural combo water program, which will provide water both for drinking and excess water for small irrigation projects for vegetable farms and backyard livestock projects.

Coastal and island communities will get solar-powered desalination water projects, while the solar-powered irrigation systems, which are the third package will be for rice and high-value crops.

An estimated USD$500 million loan from Israel will be used to fund the project, which is channeled through the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).

“All governors and mayors of towns and cities of Mindanao, including, Palawan, are expected to be present during the rollout of the program,” Año said.

According to MinDA, local government units (LGUs) could avail of the loan with concessional interest rates and will also be provided with capacity-building training to implement the projects as an income-earning economic enterprise.

Piñol said it will be the first massive program that will address the twin problems of remote barangays — water for drinking and water for irrigation.

“The availability of safe drinking water is necessary for better health of rural people while the excess water for irrigation improves agricultural productivity,” Piñol said.