BACOLOD CITY – Some 583 households in the border barangay of Sikatuna, one of the insurgency-cleared villages in Isabela, Negros Occidental, now have a steady water supply with the installation of an elevated water tank through the assistance of the Philippine Army.
The 62nd Infantry Battalion (IB) tapped the Philippine Army Finance Center Producers Integrated Cooperative (PAFCPIC) to sponsor the project, which was inaugurated on Wednesday.
In a telephone interview on Thursday, 1Lt. Mary Liza Joy de Guzman, civil-military operations officer of 62IB, said insufficient water supply has been identified as among the needs of the residents during the Army’s community support program consultations.
“A mechanism is needed to stock the water from the source. Water supply needs to be distributed to the schools, barangay hall, day care center, church and market site,” she said.
De Guzman said having regular water supply also promotes health and sanitation in the remote community, particularly among the learners in Sikatuna Elementary School, who need to wash their hands and clean the comfort rooms.
The elevated concrete water tank, which is connected to a spring, has a capacity of 12,000 liters and will be maintained and managed by the officials and residents of Barangay Sikatuna.
In a statement, Sikatuna village Dionaldo Asuncion thanked the Philippine Army and the PAFCPIC for their generosity in installing a water storage system in the village.
“Despite the mountainous terrain of our barangay, the project still reached us. You found a way to provide us with support,” he said.
The turnover ceremony was attended by Mayor Irene Montilla, PAFCPIC Board of Representative Lt. Col. Van Kristoffer Sumbeling, 62IB commanding officer Lt. Col. William Pesase Jr. and Lt. Col. Roque Dupa, commanding officer of the 542nd Engineering Construction Battalion.
The municipal government and PAFCPIC also distributed 600 water containers and food packs to the residents.
Barangay Sikatuna, one of the eight villages in Isabela cleared from the influence of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), is also a recipient of the Local Government Support Fund-Support to Barangay Development Program of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
Under the Project Agos of Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines and its partner, AID Foundation Inc., the village is also a beneficiary of the hydraulic ram pump project with a 30,000-liter capacity reservoir tank located 102 meters above the source, which distributes water to 13 mechanical water kiosks throughout the community. (PNA)