Montible river water source. (PN photo)

The Puerto Princesa City Water District (PPCWD) plans to deploy additional forest rangers and increase warning signs within the watershed of Montible to prevent further incursions of trespassers in order to protect its water sources.

PPCWD Information officer Jenn Rausa said that before the incident of trespassing recorded on Sunday, they already observed other activities in the area which caught their attention.

The PPCWD already put up a tarpaulin for warning and barriers such as barbed wires and other perimeter fence to block the passageway.

Rausa added a team is assigned in the watershed to call attention of violators and said that they still have coordinate more with the barangay officials.

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“Naglagay na tayo ng barbed wire, hinarangan natin ng kahoy ‘yong pwede lusutan ng mga tao para makapunta ron sa ilog pero inaalis. Siguro, isa rin, ang pagkakaalala ko, ‘yong malaking tarpaulin (ay) nasira siya ng Odette. Hindi pa natin napapalitan ngayon. Bago pa ma-report nagmo-mobilize na rin tayo sa office kasi meron tayong division specific don sa waterhsed,” Rausa said.

“Titingnan natin ‘yong possibility na makapag-patrol tayo ng personnel, ng forest ranger doon sa area na mabantayan ang activities doon – pag-put up ng signages. Haharangan natin uli kahit matitigas ang ulo ng mga tao na kahit na may harang na nga pinapasok pa rin. Marami na kaming nasita actually diyan,” she added.

Aside from swimming activities, PPCWD also prohibits activities such as laundry and washing of vehicles due to oil and other chemicals that may spill into the river.

The Montible river is one of the water sources of the PPCWD under the Water System Improvement Project (WSIP) II with an estimated area of 3,000 hectares.

Unlike the Lapu-Lapu and Campo Uno sources, Montible River is more accessible to the public which makes it also prone to prohibited activities.

“Ngayon, on standby lang ang source natin sa Montible, pero kapag nag-o-operate na ‘yon. Talagang mas strict pa ang implementation natin ng pagpapatrol sa area, paghuli at pagsita,” Rausa stated.

Under Republic Act 8041 or the National Water Crisis Act of 1995, individuals whose activities are posing threat to water supply and sources may face six months to two years of imprisonment.

Rausa said PPCWD, in cooperation with the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and the barangay council also conducts regular cleanup drive to ensure cleanliness of the area.

“Itong ilog na ito, diyan tayo kumukuha ng supply natin, importante na malinis. Although meron tayong treatment facility na inilalagay sa sources natin pero syempre, mas maganda pa rin na ‘yong sources natin ng tubig ay malinis talaga, walang pollutant, walang contaminant,” she explained.

“Sa mga residente na frequent ang pagbisita doon sa area, siguro marami naman tayo ritong magagandang areas na pwede puntahan at accessible. Iwasan na lang natin doon sa source natin ng supply ng tubig. Trespassing kaagad, may punishment agad ‘yon at syempre ipakita natin na disiplinado tayo. Kapag itong Montible source natin na-damage pa, tayo rin ang magsa-suffer dito,” she added.

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is one of the senior reporters of Palawan News. She covers agriculture, business, and different feature stories. Her interests are collecting empty bottles, aesthetic earrings, and anything that is color yellow.