How DOLE helped bring clean water closer to the people

On April 4, 2012, the Andili-Nueva Visayas Multi-Purpose Cooperative (ANUVIMCO) received a grant amounting to P380,000.00 from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Region XI thru the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program-Community Enterprise Development (DILP-CED). The check was used to fund the Water Refilling facility that will primarily service barangays Andili and Nueva Visayas in Mawab, Compostela Valley Province.

Thirsty for a Clean Water Source

Almost the entirety of Compostela Valley has been converted to banana plantations that demand the regular use of pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemically based products to ensure quality production.  The province is also rich with mineral reserves making it attractive to both small scale and large scale mining companies (Masara Mines and Apex Mining operate in Mawab, Compostela Valley).

With the growing agri-industrial and mining sector in Compostela Valley Province, big and small companies are attracted to invest.  However, most municipalities have a great difficulty in finding a sustainable water supply.  Some sources of drinking water are from commercial bottled water providers who deliver gallons to commercial establishments and offices. This has been seen by the members of Andili-Nueva Visayas Multi-Purpose Cooperative (ANUVIMCO) as window of opportunity. They have proposed to operate a Water Refilling Facility in Barangay Andili where the water source is near.

ANUVIMCO provided the Level II water utility facility since the discovery of the Baras Spring Source in 2002 thru the help of the Local and Provincial government and other national government agencies.  With water pressure flowing at 4 liters/ second, the Baras Spring source serviced the Barangays Andili and Nueva Visayas.

Boboy Candontol, Operations Manager and In-charge of the Water Source Maintenance, said, “with the Baras Spring source, we were able to cut the cost of our operation since we do not need electricity to pump out water. Nature has a way of purifying itself.  Our water passed all the tests conducted to ensure it is potable. Since we have a safe source, all we need now is to ensure that people can benefit from it with minimal cost.  The cooperative is charging a minimum of P50.00 for residential users and P90.00 for commercial consumers as monthly rate.”

Operating fully last July 2012 after acquiring the equipments thru the DOLE XI grant, most households in Barangays Andili and Nueva Visayas are now patronizing the ANUVIMCO water refilling station.

Patronized by the Locals

Mariam Quejada, a local entrepreneur and consumer, shared “Dako og benepisyo ang pagtukod sa coop ug water refilling station diri duol sa among barangay (we have benefited from the cooperative’s water refilling station in our barangay).”  Savings were realized after she decided to use the refilled water from the cooperative.  There is no more need to travel to Mawab town proper just to purchase regular supply of drinking water.  Moreover, the residents are guaranteed to a clean supply of drinking water, Quejada said.

The residents are now enjoying the benefits from the services provided by ANUVIMCO. However, the water source may dry up if they will not take precautionary measures in order to preserve the Baras Spring.  “The people have the right to access clean potable water. Our life revolves around the use of water. We are very fortunate to have a clean source. But like every other commodity, we should make sure that we look for means to sustain our resources.  We have applied for the declaration of Baras Spring as a watershed area.  We are in one with the community in protecting the environment,” explained Jones Garganta, ANUVIMCO President.

Local Employment

The DOLE XI DILP-CED assisted project of ANUVIMCO not only benefited its members.  The cooperative hired a local employee who is tasked to attend the refilling station.  Before handling the bottles, the refilling station attendant ensures that the work area is free from contaminants, the containers are clean before filling it with water, and nobody is allowed to enter without proper working clothes.

Meletonia DP. Tolentino, in charge of the Refilling Station Operation, related that aside from income generation, the project have helped some of the locals from the barangay. “We operate as a small cooperative.  But when everything is in place and we are able to supply other barangays, we are hopeful that we can give more people employment and alternative source of income.  Aside from generating income for the cooperative and its members, a cooperative should also look for means where it can help the community. And we are helping thru employment generation,” Melatonia said.

The DOLE XI Compostela Valley Field Office continues to monitor the development of the project.

END (LGGallegos-Ugsang, DOLE XI TSSD)