Seawater desalination machines up for delivery to Sulu

John Unson - Philstar.com
Seawater desalination machines up for delivery to Sulu
Bangsamoro Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim and Regional Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo presented Friday to reporters the desalination facilities bound for Sulu island towns.
Philstar.com / John Unson

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — Reporters and state auditors on Friday together tasted and found alright the desalinated seawater produced by new machines bound for island towns in Sulu.

The desalination machines, procured by the Ministry of the Interior and Local Government-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao from the Water Equipment Technology Industries Inc. (WetII), are for island municipalities where drinking water is so scarce.

The MILG-BARMM and the WetII are to deliver starting next week the desalination machines to four Sulu island towns -- Pata, Panglima Tahil, Pandami and Pangutaran.

The MILG-BARMM and the office of Bangsamoro Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim shall also provide selected areas in Tawi-Tawi with desalination machines, according to Regional Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo.

The P114 million worth water supply project for Sulu and Tawi-Tawi is something officials of the now defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, that operated for 29 years until its replacement in 2019 by BARMM, never ever ventured on.

Sinarimbo, Ebrahim and Donna Paiso, a representative of WetII, together showed on Friday to reporters and a team led by Auditor Bernard Sero from the Commission on Audit how the machines work while still at the Polloc Sea Port in Parang, Maguidanao.

BARMM officials, Paiso and reporters invited to witness the event took turns tasting the desalinated water siphoned from the sea at one side of the port, about 15 kilometers from the Bangsamoro capitol in Cotabato City.

“This project was launched to address the longtime scarcity of safe drinking in island towns in Sulu and in certain areas in Tawi-Tawi,” Murad said in a brief talk during the activity.

The BARMM government launched just two weeks ago a P400 million worth water supply project for half of the more than 90 barangays in Marawi City.

Many of the barangays in Marawi City have not even reeled off from the devastation wrought by the May 23 to Oct. 16, 2017 deadly conflict there that the Maute terror group instigated. 

Gerry Salapuddin, administrator of the Southern Philippines Development Authority, said Saturday the water supply program of the still 27-month BARMM government is something that local executives should help push forward.

“Safe drinking water is so essential for good health of impoverished Moro people, particularly children in areas where they do not have enough of it,” Salapuddin, who hails from Basilan, said.

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