Philippines - Water System Project in Quezon and Isabela Province

Post date: Jul 20, 2015 10:39:36 PM

Water System Project in Quezon and Isabela Province

Last February 4, 2014, the RMP National Office received funds for water system project from the MSC Mission Office. Two weeks after receiving the funds, the RMP – Northern Luzon conducted a meeting with the peasant and women leaders of the communities to validate their request for water system. The areas who benefited the project are all farming communities.The 1st meeting was held at St. John Bosco Parish in Quezon, Isabela with Fr. Herman Bugatti who helped facilitate the meeting. There were slight changes in the project but the changes were unanimously approved by the community leaders. The group agreed when to start and where to situate the two artesian wells. Completed on July 13, 2014, the two artesian wells are now serving 118 families in Brgy. Lepanto, Quezon. Said Mely Palomar, a former leader of TIMBALI, a woman organization put up by the Diocesan Women Program, “Haan kami marigatan ken nalaka kami nga makaala ti danum tatan ken dalus pay, mabalin nga inumin lallalo dagiti ubing”. (The water coming from the new artesian well is cleaner and safe to drink especially for our children. Water is also now more accessible to our community.)

The barangay officials recognized the efforts of the women and peasant organizations in improving the water system of the community. Even the parish priest expressed his gratitude to the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines and to the MSC Mission Office for their kindness and generosity. Right after the completion of the project, the good priest blessed the artesian wells during his Sunday community Mass in the barangay.

The second project was requested by Brgy. Calanguigan, Quezon. Around 8 kilometers away from the town proper, it is the community next to Lepanto. Most of the residents in the area (estimated 90%) are migrants from adjacent province of Kalinga and Ifugao. They have lands to till but still many of them have no CLT (Certificate of Land Titles) but only CLOA (Certificate of Land Ownership Award). There is no irrigation system in the area so they only plant rice once a year. The Igorot farmers do not use fertilizers so they are not indebted to usurers for farm inputs and pesticides but during drought. They go to another town to work as farm helpers while women work as house helpers to support the family.The request of Calanguigan community was to replace the old and rusty pipes of the water reservoir built in the early 1980’s by the RGS sisters. They also wanted to build a bigger water reservoir in the water source located in the mountain of Tabuk, Kalinga. The members of GROBACAL, the women organization organized by the Women Program of the Diocese of Ilagan in coordination with the officials of the barangay, worked together to accomplish the project. The replacement of the old pipes was completed in two months. However, the construction of a bigger water reservoir in Tabuk took 4-5 months because of the bad weather. The women leaders were apologetic for the delay of the project which was understandable. The mud and the water flowing from the mountain made it harder for the community to carry the construction materials. All men in the community volunteered in helping transport the materials to the mountain.

When the project was finally completed in March 2015, the community was rejoicing. On their days in the mountain, they celebrated for the unity and cooperation they showed to make the project possible. The ritual was also their way of thanking God for His generosity. The water system is being enjoyed by 199 families.Polly David, the secretary of the barangay, could not stop thanking the donors for their generosity. In their dialect she said, “Ni Apo Diyos, to ti Mangsupapak kadakayu a donors. Agyaman kami ta dakami a marigrigat ti umana na natulungan yu. Di dakay to malipatan ken kanayun a malaglagip iti akda aldaw aldaw”. (May God reward your goodness. Thank you for remembering the poor people like us. We will never forget you. We will remember you every day of our life.)The third beneficiary of the project is Sitio Loscon, Brgy. Gangalan, San Mariano. It is 17 kilometers away from the town proper. The DAGAMI – Danggayan Ti Mannalon Ti Isabela, a peasant organization in Isabela, made the request to RGS Sisters through the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Ilagan. A consultation was held with peasant leaders and RMP – Northern Luzon Coordinator.

They were able to build two artesian wells with the limited funds given to them because they found skilled people who in the community who help them voluntarily.

As of now, around 55 families are benefiting the two newly – built artesian wells. They do not have to walk long distance to fetch water from the river. Now that the water is accessible, parents are not worried anymore when they send their children particularly girls to get water unlike before when they had to walk a few kilometers to fetch water.The previous fifty five (55) families who benefited the water system are increasing because many more families have started to migrate in that area. The presence of the two artesian wells has attracted many people to live near the community.We can understand why the people are extraordinary grateful to the donors. For many years, no one had paid attention to them. Samuel Agacer told our volunteer, “Ammu mi nga awan ti dawaten dagiti donors a kasukat ti maitulong nu saan ket tiinkam panagkaykaysa ken panagtitinnulong nga daytoy ti maipannakel ken maipakita kadagiti pulitoko. Agyaman kami kadakayo”. (We know that our donors expect nothing in return but to continue our unity and cooperation. That is what we want to prove to the local government officials here. We are truly grateful to you.)