Some municipalities of Sulu province have no potable or drinking water for a long, long period that is “as old as time,” notes the MILG.
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COTABATO CITY (SDN) — The Ministry of the Interior and Local Government (MILG) headed by Minister Naguib G. Sinarimbo continued to provide water facilities to communities in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
One of the primary line agencies of the Bangsamoro government, the MILG has been bringing the “dividends of peace” to areas of BARMM, which is composed of the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, and the cities of Cotabato, Lamitan, and Marawi, as well as the Special Geographic Area (SGA) made up of 63 barangays or villages in North Cotabato that opted to be under BARMM jurisdiction during two plebiscites in January and February 2019.
It was created in 2018 by the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) to implement the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), a product of the 17-year-old Mindanao peace process involving the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
The BARMM per Philippine Atlas has five provinces, three cities, 116 municipalities, and the SGA villages. Its population as of 2020 is pegged at 4,404,288. Basilan has 11 municipalities; Lanao del Sur, 39; Maguindanao, 36; Sulu, 19; and Tawi-Tawi, 11. Its component cities are Cotabato (the regional center and capital) in Maguindanao; Lamitan in Basilan; and Marawi in Lanao del Sur.
Sinarimbo’s ministry has been a source of the dividends of peace, which it provides and funds, such as the construction of Municipal Halls, Philippine National Police (PNP) Stations, Public Markets, Tourism Centers, Public Terminals, Barangay Halls, Water Desalination Machines, and Water Systems.
Many of the construction projects and water facilities to provide potable water to water-starved towns of BARMM’s island provinces — Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi — were already completed and turned over by the MILG to recipient local government units (LGUs); many projects still are being built and several more in the planning stage, said Sinarimbo.
Photo at right is the barge that carried the Water Desalination Machine for the island municipality of Pandami, Sulu. At left, excitement builds up as residents await the machine’s installation. Two houses had to be demolish so the barge can dock as the water was shallow. (Credit: MILG)
One of the Water Desalination Machines has arrived in the municipality of Pandami, Sulu, over the week, and is ready for installation. As the MILG official had observed, many towns of Sulu, even while surrounded by water albeit saline water have for many, many years no potable or drinking water.
The Water Desalination Machines from the MILG have provided recipient towns’ residents to have a ready source of drinking water and do not need to travel from island to island to get their water.
“Our Water Desalination Machine is now in the island municipality of Pandami, Sulu,” said Sinarimbo.