By Rita Festin
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Naawan folk get the service they deserve
Naawan, Misamis Oriental—This fourth class municipality just one hour out of Cagayan de Oro City was unheard of before it landed on the front pages of newspapers by being the “Christmasterpiece: Bayanihang Pasko 2005” grand winner.
Beating major cities and towns nationwide, Naawan won the Christmas landmark competition with its colorful “Arch of Friendship: Building Future with People” entry.
But behind its fertile creativity lurked a need for basic services, such as potable water.
In 2003, its water system only served 517 households. The town availed of a loan to improve sanitation and expand its level 3 potable water supply system to reach more households and consumers.
Out with the old
The improvement and expansion of the water system covered three coastal communities, the poblacion and the towns of Manticao and Lugait.
Old pipelines were replaced with new ones, and a new 220-cubic meter capacity reservoir was put up.
A 10-horsepower pump, one of two to be found at the time, was replaced with a more powerful 25-horsepower pump to boost capacity and cater to the 60-cubic-meter-per-hour requirement of a newly established copper industrial plant.
Total cost of the project was P15.8 million, of which, almost P12 million was financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) through its Mindanao Basic Urban Services Sector (MBUSS) project being implemented by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in partnership with the Nordic Development Fund and the Land Bank of the Philippines.
With the expansion, 1,391 households began to benefit from the water system, including the 300 households in neighboring municipalities.
Average monthly income also increased dramatically from P300,000 to P1 million on its initial operation. It even reached P2.7 million as of end-2008.
This 700-percent increase in five years is already half of the municipality’s entire revenue collection.
So, in Naawan, water is now “naawas,” or overflowing, not only in this town but in adjacent towns as well.
“This project benefits a lot of people in the municipality of Naawan,” according to Mayor Dennis Roa. “I am thankful to the ADB/DILG MBUSS project.
We are not only serving the people, helping the people, but we are gaining from this project as well. We have paid most of our loans and the profit is a little bit high. It’s good for our town and municipal coffers.”
The ADB’s MBUSS project helps improve living conditions of urban residents in Mindanao by giving them access to basic urban infrastructure and essential municipal services, based on their demand and needs.
It covers the construction and rehabilitation of public markets, gymnasiums, transport terminals, cultural centers, water supply and municipal buildings to benefit 11 provinces, covering about 40 local government units.
It also trains LGUs so they can better manage and sustain the infrastructure projects.