Residents dwelling in the southernmost island municipality of Balabac will now have access to a safe and reliable water supply, following the completion of three water system projects by the provincial government in collaboration with the local government unit (LGU).
The water system projects are located in the barangays of Poblacion, Sebaring, and Mangsee.
In Brgy. Poblacion, the provincial government inaugurated Friday the Abong-abong water system that will benefit residents of barangays I, II, III, IV, V, VI, Pasig, Rabor, Catagupan, Agutayan, Indalawan, Malaking Ilog, and Milville.
A solar power plant in Sebaring was also inaugurated.
On February 26, the provincial government will also inaugurate the reverse osmosis desalination facility in Mangsee.
Some of the officials present during the event were vice governor Dennis Socrates, board member Leoncio Ola, and board member Ryan Maminta.
According to Governor Jose Chaves Alvarez, Palawan has 62 active water systems, with some of them located in island barangays and municipalities. Their constructions started in 2014.
“Dati ay walang naniniwala na may tubig pero noong hinukay ay sumirit ang tubig. Napakaraming isla na walang tubig pero nagawa ang tubig dagat na fresh water,” Alvarez said.
Engr. Ann Michelle Cardenas, head of the Palawan Water infrastructure office, said that there are water systems in Mangsee, Poblacion, Bancalaan, Sebaring, Pandanan, Ramos, and Salang.
“Dito sa Balabac ay may pito na water system projects. Ito ay operational na ngayon kaya inaanyayahan natin na magpakabit na ang lahat direkta sa ating mga tahanan,” she said.
Engr. John Gil Ynzon, Palawan Waters’ construction and operations manager, said in an interview Friday morning that each town has a minimum monthly bill set based on the type of water project.
Balabac’s minimum monthly water charge will be P190 for five cubic meters, while subsequent fees would be P38.
“Nagva-vary kasi ang financial computations, depende kung gaano ka kalayo, especially alam naman natin na malayo ang Balabac, ang mga operation cost natin ay kino-compute that’s why nag-derive tayo sa ganoong presyo,” Ynzon.
He said that the water system is now ready to serve as a source of drinking water, having passed the Philippine National Standards for Drinking Water.
“Mas mura po ito dahil ito ay inuming tubig na, directly pwedeng pwede ito inumin. [Ito] ay pumasa din sa Philippine National Standards for Drinking Water,” he said.
Shuaib Astami, mayor of Balabac, also expressed gratitude to the provincial government for the water system and hospital in Mangsee.
“Kahit gaano kahirap ay nagawa ni Gob. [Alvarez] ang pangako [niya]. Maraming salamat po,” Astami said.