Finally, a water system for Parang town in ARMM
COTABATO CITY—Parang, Maguindanao, will have its first government-run water system by 2013 and prospects of it being the permanent site for the seat of government of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) appear bright, local officials and a United Nations-endorsed water development expert said.
Originally known as “Padangdang,” the town was officially renamed as Parang during the American occupation. Its people thrived for decades on the abundance of potable spring water from lush mountains bounded by Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur.
But Parang Mayor Ibrahim Ibay said that with the town’s growing population that now exceeds 100,000, the need to distribute clean and safe water has been the priority of his young administration.
Ibay signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for a water system with the group A Single Drop for Safe Water Inc. (ASDSW), a UN-accredited nonprofit organization.
During the MOA signing at the Parang Municipal Hall, Kevin Lee, ASDSW representative, said his group would complete the project in 18 months using available manpower in the community and local government expertise.
“This is about people, good governance, transparency and accountability,” said Lee.
Ibay said the people’s desire to have their own water system, expressed in 1999 in a resolution by the town council, came to reality in 2003 when the Asian Development Bank approved an P82-million loan for the purpose.
Records showed that after having spent more than P30 million, the construction work had to be stopped, Ibay said without elaborating.
Lee said he was upbeat that the project would be able to start providing potable water to villages near the spring water source in Barangay (village) Makasanding.
Other communities that would eventually benefit from the project include Barangays Making, Gumagadong Kalawag, Nituan Magsaysay, Poblacion-1 and Poblacion-2.
Ibay said with a good water system, he hopes to see popular food chains setting up business in the town, “and perhaps look forward to the sprawling Polloc village to be the permanent regional seat of the ARMM government.”
Lee asked residents to make good use of the water system by taking extra care of its spring.
“Unless we do something good for the environment, like planting trees around the water source and clean its surrounding of pollutants, the system would be good for a decade or so,” Lee said.
The water expert said the ASDSW is also busy resolving other water-related concerns in flood-prone areas in Maguindanao.—Charlie C. Señase
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