State of Kidapawan Water: Waiting and Wanting

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DAVAO CITY — Water consumer of Metro Kidapawan Water District are up in arms against the water utility as it failed to provide a 24/7 potable water to its 36,500 clients.

The quasi-judicial water firm which serves the municipalities of Makilala, Magpet, Matalam and Kidapawan City, in the various forum has admitted their failure to provide what every consumer wants saying they continuously wait for the release of the multi-million loan it applied from the Asian Development Bank through the Lowal Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), the government agency of all water districts in the country and the grant which they expect from National Government through the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Center.

Angry water consumers even accused the management of the water firm of corruption.

In a facebook post, Chim Beng said, “Ang vino, samtang nagkadugay nagkalami, ang MKWD nagkatiguwang ug nagkadugay nagkumot og tae! Ango-ango ang tawag ana! (A wine tastes good when it aged, the MKWD- while it gets older, it squeezes a shit!!

Another Facebook used John Pagaduan on a June 20 post states “Walang Sira-ulong mag invest sa Kidapawan pag ganito ang serbisyo ng water district ni Stella Gonzales? Solution? RESIGN!” (No man in his right mind will invest in Kidapawan if this is the (quality) service of the water district of Stella Gonzales! Solution? Resign!”

Another Facebook uses Joemar Campo, posted “Note: Lost: Water if found: Pls return to MKWD (reward waiting).

On June 25, Campo posted “during childhood among dula kay tubig tubig . . . ka-experience mo? karon ang among ginapangita kay tubig??!! tubigggg???(during childhood one of our games was Tubig tubig, have you experienced one?” Now, what we are searching for is, water?)

Campo said his family spent sleepless nights during rainfall because they are collecting rainwater to wash their clothes and other basic needs.

In the Facebook post of MKWD consumers, one can read anger and hate messages posted against the water firm.

A disgruntled water consumer Joemar Campo in a Facebook post shared his frustartion.

The quake, according to Engineer Wilesper Lisandro Alqueza, the assistant general manager for operations and spokesperson of the water firm in an interview with Newsline, landslides due to the series of earthquakes, devastated the 1.5 hectare and 2.5-hectare area where the Buhay and Buenavida water sources in Makilala town respectively, the two areas are the biggest water sources.

As it is now, the water firm’s sources of water include six springs, one surface water. The surface comprises the 60percent production for Kidapawan City.

But the impact of the quake has affected the water production, and as of now, they only recovered 80percent of the water production using their own fund, but the long spell again reduced the production to only 50 percent and the recent heavy downpour caused landslide near their tap water resource, the Saging River.

The power sump cannot process the turbidity of the coming from a landslide area”So we are forced to shut down’ the supply.

Personnel from MKWD repair and restore water sources in their Makilala water sources.-MKWD Facebook

Aside from the devastated and busted waterlines due the landslides brought about by the earthquakes, the water production is also affected by the March to May dry spell , which further stretch the already limited production resulting to water shortage with until now is being experience by residents.

In some areas, water comes only at night.

Reports that the shortage is artificial to pave the way for a possible partnership with the group of Senator Cynthia Villar and other interested entities was outrightly denied, Alqueza said, “We cannot strike a deal with them given our status, we are partly quasi-judicial and it was never a consideration”.

Asked on allegations that there is corruption inside the water entity which resulted in the depletion of funds for development, Alqueza said “We are always open for audit, wala man gi gitago (We are not hiding anything).

Alqueza candidly admitted, “Yes, we failed, that is a fact, because we are still recovering from the destruction which the October 20, 2019, and the series of earthquakes which hit our water sources and we are bombarded with hate messages in various media and social media platform, it is a reality but we are doing our best given our limitation”.

Before the October earthquakes and series of quakes, the MKWD, according to Alqueza served 95 percent or 34,675 of their 36,500 clients

The firm said it will cost them P82.7 million for the repair and restoration of the damaged water sources “But until now we are patiently waiting for the release of the NDRRMC’s commitment to providing P56.56-million out of the required fund to restore and rehabilitate the damaged waterlines.

Prior to the disaster, the water firm planned to add more water source but the plan fizzled out due to the quake.

The loan with the ABD to the tune of P561-million which will be released in trances for the next 30 months as approved, but until now, nothing has been released.

“We are trying our best to restore our waterlines and provide water to every consumer, but given our resources- we are left with no choice but remedy and maximize what we have,” he added.

Aside from the still unclear support from the national government through NDRRMC and the still unreleased ABD loan, Provincial Governor Nancy Catamco and other local government units have helped to source out funds and in making follow up on their request for support. Hence, this didn’t work out at the moment.

The ABD loan which was approved on January 28, has yet to see the green light while the NDRRMC’sP56.56-million commitment for the repair still hangs.

Given a grim chance, the residents are left with two options — to collect rainwater as people used to practice before, or, get water from nearby potable springs rather than rely on an unreliable commitment.

If one is to believe the narrative of Alqueza and the water firm, it would be safe to say that in all their effort to access financial support- the status is “Still Waiting”, however, water consumers said the water supply from MKWD is wanting.-Editha Z. Caduaya

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