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Davao City, Philippines

A better flow of life for IPs as clean water reaches their community

June 23, 2019 - Sunday 4:06 AM by Kenneth Paul Senarillos

Article Banner Image FILLING UP. A girl manually fills up plastic gallon containers with potable water using a pitcher at Barangay Dalagdag in Calinan District, Davao City. KENNETH PAUL SENARILLOS

DAVAO CITY -- Located 12 kilometers north of Calinan Proper and 28 kilometers from Buhangin highway, Barangay Dalagdag in Calinan District has 259 households scattered on its nine puroks or sitios.

The far-flung barangay is home to 1,137 Indigenous People (IP), especially Klata Bagobo, Manobo, and migrant residents.

The hilly and fertile land of Barangay Dalagdag allows its residents to cultivate different crops as their main source of income.

Most of its inhabitants engage in farming and trading of agricultural crops such as bananas, mangoes, rice, corn, coconuts, and vegetables.

The agricultural nature of their livelihood and their everyday domestic needs demand an accessible water supply.

However, finding a clean and reliable water source has been one of the top struggles of the community.

Lisud gyud kaayo kay lasang pa ang agian nimo unya mag hawid paka sa kahoy labi na ug kanang tig ulan, dangog gyud kaayo ang agianan,” Barangay Dalagdag Kagawad Jose Badil shared his hardships on fetching water in the community.

(It is very hard for us to pass on a slippery trail in the forest just to fetch water. You can only hold on to trees, especially when it is rainy season.)

BLESSING. Two indigenous elders sacrifice a chicken beside the newly built ferrocement water reservoir tank as a form of thanksgiving during the Dalagdag Indigenous Potable Water System Project handover ceremony at Barangay Dalagdag in Calinan District, Davao City. KENNETH PAUL SENARILLOS

The resident’s lack of access to water affects their living condition, limiting farm productivity and also resulting to their poor health and sanitation practices.

Naka-try mi na nag activity tapos ang nasabaw sa gipangluto kay gikan sa sapa, nagka LBM ang mga nangaon sa ato na time. Unya during pud sa pagpanghinlo sa among mga CR sa amoang barangay hall, di nalang ipagamit ang CR usahay kay walay tubig,” Barangay Council for Women President Imelda Makiling said.

(On one occasion during our barangay activity, we tried to cook using water from the river. The people who consumed the food got diarrhea. Sometimes, we just close our comfort rooms in our barangay hall because it has no water supply.)

Despite the inconvenience, the residents are left with no choice but to continue to source water from a secluded stream in their area.

Ang tao, di man gyud mabuhi ug walay tubig. Bisag layo ang tubig man gud, di naman nato na ginamatter unsa ka lisod sa dalan, unsa ka lay-on kay mao man gud ang basic nato na panginahanglanon,” Barangay Dalagdag Kagawad Reynante Lansoy said.

(People can’t live without water. Even if the trail to fetch water is far and hard to reach, it doesn't really matter anymore to people in need, because water for them is a basic necessity.)

HANDOVER.  On behalf of his constituents, Barangay Dalagdag Captain Rogelio dela Cruz accepts the certificate from the Coca Cola Foundation Inc., Peace and Equity Foundation Inc. (PEF), and Kasilak Development Foundation Inc. officers during the Dalagdag Indigenous Potable Water System Project handover ceremony. KENNETH PAUL SENARILLOS

In hopes of solving their dilemma, the community leaders sought the help of Kasilak Development Foundation, Inc. (KDFI), a non-profit social development organization.

In 2017, KDFI started a series of community visits together with Barangay Dalagdag officials and its IP leaders to assess the community for a potable water system project.

KDFI found out that the nearest and only suitable water source is a spring eight kilometers away from Barangay Dalagdag and is located in another barangay – Dominga.

The portion of the land where the spring is located — despite not being part of Barangay Dalagdag — was donated by its owner to the project’s cause.

Ang agreement namo didto, ang tag-iya gyud mismo sa yuta maoy nihatag ug donation na iyang ipagamit ang tubig na dal-on didto sa Barangay Dalagdag. Ni pirma siya—iyang pag tugot—unya kato rapung tubod na gikan sa iyang yuta,” Barangay Dalagdag Captain Rogelio Dela Cruz said.

(The landowner signed a document and agreed to donate the water from the spring to the project’s cause.)

POTABLE WATER. Leonora, a 48-year-old resident of Barangay Dalagdag in Calinan District, Davao City, fills up her plastic containers with potable water using a hose connected to a spring located 8 kilometers away from their house. KENNETH PAUL SENARILLOS

To realize the project, KDFI made a proposal which eventually got an approval from the Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines and the Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF) with a total allocated budget of P1.4 million for its one year run.

Yung talagang nandoon sa far-flung areas, they spend hours fetching water. These are the people na talagang off-grid; hindi talaga maabot ng government kahit gustohin pa ng government,” Monina Pacheco, the Coca-Cola Foundation Program Officer said.

(People in far-flung areas spend hours fetching water. These are the people that are off grid. Most of the time, they are not reached by government services even if the government wants to.)

The fund covers all of the project’s expenses, from the needed construction materials to the capacity building seminars of the community members.

The seminars are part of the project’s inclusive framework which aims to equip the community with skills on enterprise operation and water system management.

“We have a water engineer who helps the local partner develop, assess the water source, draw up the plans for the water system, and monitor the implementation,” Omar Salvo, the PEF Head of Programs and Partnership, said.

SWAYING WITH BLISS. Indigenous women dance with the Coca-Cola and Kasilak Foundation executives during the water system project handover ceremony. KENNETH PAUL SENARILLOS

To sustain the project, its stakeholders are encouraged to be at the forefront of its operation.

The residents then organized the Dalagdag Indigenous People Potable Water System (DIPWASA) cooperative to consolidate the collection of dues, membership, formulation, and approval of maintenance policies concerning the water system project in their community.

Kasi ang objective dito, ‘di lang you build the water system but to ensure that it operates and it will continue to service the people,” Salvo added.

(The objective here is not just build the water system but to ensure that it operates and it will continue to service the people.)

The project successfully tapped the spring in Barangay Dominga with its Gravity Flow Level II Water System (WS) and supplied water to different tap stands which are installed throughout Barangay Dalagdag.

To provide the community with apt water storage, the project has also built one ferrocement water tank with a 10,000 liter capacity, plus five units of smaller ferrocement water tanks each with a five thousand liter capacity.

WATER RESERVOIR. This is one of the six newly built ferrocement water tanks installed all throughout Barangay Dalagdag. The six tanks can store a total of 35,000 liters of water. KENNETH PAUL SENARILLOS

For Barangay Council for Women president Imelda Makiling, Kagawad Renante Lansoy, and Kagawad Jose Badil, the new water system project has improved their community’s way of life and livelihood.

Importante gyud kaayo ang tubig bisag asa. Presidente ko sa Women’s, kung mag-budget ko sa amoang women’s day, mag-budget pagyud kug pangsuhol, hakot ug tubig. Instead na madugang to sa budget sa pagkaon…makwaan pa tuod kay wala man mi tubig na amoang magamit,” Makiling said.

(Everywhere you go, water is very important. I am the president of the Barangay Council for women. Due to the lack of water supply, I include the pay for people who fetch us water when I plan the budget for our Women’s Day activity. That money could have been spent for our food.)

PANUBADTUBAD. Barangay Dalagdag indigenous elders perform ‘panubadtubad’ to thank their creator for the newly built water system project in their community. During the ritual, the elders offer the spirits with wine, chicken, viand, and rice. KENNETH PAUL SENARILLOS

Ang oras na ilang konsumohon pagkabo sa layo na tubod - maligo, manlaba, magkuha ug imnonon…ma-convert sa lain na gibuhaton – pag-atubang ug uma, pag-atiman sa mga kahayupan, so dako siyag impact sa namuyo diri kay kasagaran man gud namuyo diri mag-uuma,” Lansoy said.

(The time they consume on fetching water from afar just to take a bath, do laundry, or get potable water can now be converted to more productive things such as farming crops and animals. The newly installed water system project has a great impact in the lives of the people in our community, especially to farmers.) 

Kung mutrabaho ka dali nalang man kaayo kay ang tubig naa ra sa duol, makaligo ka dayon. Mas maayo pang way kuryente kaysa  way tubig kay ang tubig kinabuhi,” Badil said.

(When you prepare for work, you can easily take a bath because there is an accessible water source. It is better for us to not have electricity than not have water because water is life.)

THUMBS UP. Barangay Dalagdag representatives together with the Dalagdag Indigenous People Potable Water System (DIPWASA) officers, Coca-Cola Foundation, Peace and Equity Foundation, and Kasilak Foundation executives pose for the camera during the closing ceremony of the water system project handover. KENNETH PAUL SENARILLOS