ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Aug. 19, 2010) - By looking at the economic indicators, the remotest Immaculada village in Labason town in Zamboanga del Norte province is considered “poor,” but it is surely abundant and rich when it comes to “communal unity” and people’s commitment to improve their community.
This was evidently true as the villagers help themselves construct the water system facility, the first of its kind in this village, which for a long time have no access to potable drinking water.
“It was through ‘pintakasi’ and the people’s all-out commitment that make the construction of this water project possible,” Immaculada village chieftain Jaime Resit said in Cebuano during the blessings and inauguration Wednesday of their 1.6 million pesos worth of water facility.
“Pintakasi” is a Cebuano term for Filipino best trait “bayanihan” or communal effort. The project is made possible through the collaborative efforts – another bayanihan – of several organizations including the local government units.
The facility is mainly funded by Peace and Equity Foundation through a more than 600 thousand pesos grant-in-aid.
Xavier Agricultural Extension Services provided manpower support and supervised the project, while the Office of Zamboanga del Norte Representative Cesar Jalosjos donated a unit of reservoir and the Municipal Government of Labason and Immaculada Village Council also shared their individual counterparts.
The villagers voluntarily labored for the construction. Resit said his constituents have all-out support because “they know the benefits of the project.”
“It’s really a big help because before we have only one water source and it’s distant,” said villager Eluna Asil.
Before, she further narrated, they have to hike kilometers of the hilly terrain just to get a drinking water. “Now, we are very happy because we have the water right at our doorsteps,” she said, referring to their common tapstand, which she shared with 10 of her neighbors.
The project dubbed as “Immaculada Potable Water System” has constructed five tapstands that serve at least 106 households or about 500 individuals.
Jun Mabaso, member of PEF Board of Trustees, said PEF will continuously work to reach and serve poorer communities. “This is what PEF is all about, reaching and serving communities like Immaculada,” he said.
“What we only want to see in the future is that this project will be maintained properly,” he told the villagers.
In response, Barangay Water and Sanitation Association President, Edmund Namit, pledged to maintain the project so it would serve its purpose.
“We receive and take care of this for the good of our village and for our children,” he said.
He also revealed that certain regulations will likewise be instituted for the proper use of the water.
This water system project is only one of the many projects of PEF aimed at alleviating the living conditions of marginalized and the poor.
According to Ferdinand Enriquez, PEF Regional Program Coordinator for Zamboanga Peninsula, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi provinces, another water system facility will be handed over to local officials next month in Maimbung and Indanan town in Sulu province.
Last month, he added, similar water system project was inaugurated in Tungawan town in Zamboanga Sibugay province. Since its creation in 2001, over 1 billion pesos was poured in by PEF nationwide to support projects on basic social services, livelihood and enterprise, capacity building, and calamity assistance, among others. (Nuhman Aljani)