Saturday, January 9, 2016

Guingona named Gatan on ‘completed’ waterworks; folks ask 'where is the water'

Except irrigation waters to ricefields in Tanulong it is a big question ' where is the  Boasaw water for domestic  use'?
SAGADA MOUNTAIN PROVINCE- Indigenous Peoples Representative to the Sangguniang Bayan Jaime Dugao named Senator Teofisto Guingona 111 Gatan during his visit here handing him a spear and a balaka (indigenous headgear). Gatan in Sagada literature is married to Bangan; and Gatan in Benguet mythology refers to a representative of Lumawig (God)  who came down to earth.

As reported by the Philippine Information Agency, the senator from his visit to Ifigao goes to Sagada to inaugurate the P36 million Boasaw waterworks where he alloted 18 million pesos from his priority development assistance funds (PDAF) in 2011.

Guingona was instead met with a thanksgiving ritual called ‘apoy di danum’ here at sitio Anga-ang where locates the ending of the four inch diameter pipe to the irrigation canal leading to Tanulong ricefields.

There was no inauguration of a ‘completed’ waterworks to speak of with a project beset with questions. 

Declared  as ‘completed’ by mayor Eduardo Latawan, the waterworks project  called Improvement of  Buasao  Irrigation System and Construction of  Tanulong  Tribe Irrigators Association Water Services is meant to service the irrigation waters  of  Tanulong  and domestic water supply for 15 barangays of Sagada as noted in the project feasibility study.
The other half of 18 million pesos is sourced from the Cordillera Highland Agricultural Resource Management Project (CHARMP) who is now seeking turnover of the project to hesitant Tanulong irrigators.

Irrigation water to Tanulong rice fields is the reason for the release of Boasaw waters for the said project to begin which also meant to provide for the domestic water supply of Sagada Poblacion. This leading to an agreement in 2011 among northern leaders and elders witnessed by  Latawan that a 5 inch pipe shall lead to the  irrigation canal and  the ‘excess’ waters  for the domestic supply.    

Barangay captain  Ben Ayyawan of Tanulong said the agreement had not been followed with only a four inch diameter pipe leading to the  irrigation canal of Tanulong instead of a five inch orifice. Ayyawan said northern officials had been consistently forwarding their concern to Latawan. 

Excess waters as noted  in said agreement means only when Tanulong ricefields are in fallow during rainy months that waters are directed to the domestic water supply; and in times where ricefields continuously need water that only one hour is allowed every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday of the week to be released to the domestic water system.

The local government unit of Sagada implemented the project with Cotabato- based FFJJ construction who won the bidding in December 2011.

Long awaited waters
While irrigation water to the ricefields of Tanulong flow on,  domestic waters to Sagada remain a big question of when the residents  shall taste  the long  awaited waters from Boasaw despite construction of water tanks in strategic areas of barangays Patay, Ambasing and Antadao and pipes already  laid out.

Folks in barangay Ambasing say waters have not yet reached Ambasing though there is already a waiting tank to be filled.

Same is true in barangays Demang and Dagdag named in the 15 beneficiary towns who await these long awaited waters to come by.

There is no water reaching the eastern barangays though Boasaw waters has flowed here for at least two months March to May of 2014 then stopped.

And in this northern barangays of Bangaan, Aguid and Madongo where water pipes pass through, domestic waters from Boasaw within their territory is not a reality to utilize. Bangaan folks earlier called for pipelines specially meant for Bangaan.

Project redesigns
It’s now 2016 and that is thrice the duration more than the 320 day period of the P36 million Boasaw waterworks since the Sangguniang Bayan then in 2012 asked why pipes do not reach the main town stopping only in sitio Kapinitan despite the project feasibility that said waterworks shall service15 barangays. The SB then further called for redesign of the project. The LGU asked for an extension till August of 2013 to CHARMP to accommodate changes to the design. 

This led to P2 million from 2013 Bottom up Budgetting (BuB) allotted to pipes to reach intended 15 barangays. It was also in said meeting with the  SB then in 2012 that Latawan said 2 four- inch pipes shall be connected from the 6- inch pipe connected from the Boasaw water dam.

Only 1 four- inch pipe however was installed leading to the distribution tank at Palidan loaded with questions if this means saving on pipes.

CHARMP in its recommendation forwarded that 2 four- inch pipes be installed aside from the construction of two water tanks before the waters reach Palidan. 

Barangay captain Ayyawan of Tanulong said there should be at least 2 four inch pipes leading to the distribution tank in Palidan to ensure enough supply of water both for the irrigation of Tanulong ricefields and domestic water supply for Sagada.

Engineer Windel Baaten of CHARMP earlier said volumes of water from the 6 inch pipe connected from the Boasaw dam is getting wasted along the water canal and not fully going to the distribution tank to Palidan. CHARMP recommended that an 8 inch pipe be connected from the open canal connected from the 6 inch diameter pipe from the Boasaw dam.

In June of 2015 CHARMP Supervisor Beverly Pekas assured that domestic waters shall be in town third quarter of 2015.  Waters remained in the canals of Boasaw till now.

This stands since the 320 day project had been bidded December of 2011 and awarded January of 2012.  Project started February and stalled to start again August of 2012 to be stalled again due to questions on free prior and informed consent (FPIC) by adjacent Tubo Abra on the construction of a water tunnel within a common boundary. And that was in later months of 2013.

Comes Senator Guingona at the turn of the New Year in 2016 met with an ‘apoy di danum’ and him getting baptized as Gatan by the LGU officials led by mayor Latawan. Shall the waters finally come to Sagada Poblacion with the ‘apoy’ having been done and the reported removal of a big rock along the water canal?

No turnover yet
Turnover of the project has yet to be done with Tanulong not accepting the waterworks project from CHARMP due to questions on implementations and compliance to CHARMP’s recommendations.

Ayyawan  is hopeful inspection shall be done by CHARMP  January this year.

Equally the question remains when the Boasaw waters shall come to water-needy Sagada Poblacion where abounds a number of business establishments catering to  tourists.

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