Philippines Update: Summer 2016

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Environmental Sustainability|Water Crisis
Global Associate, Philippines

Global Associate in the Philippines, Dr. Susana Anayatin recently sent updates on the implementation of ten restored or newly installed Jetmatic Water Pumps in the South Upi District, made possbile by our partnership with Susana and her team in Manguindanao. 

In July, Susana expressed the challenges and obstacles to hitting their target goals and bringing the pumps online, but after the national presidential election which took priority for several weeks in the spring, and waiting out inclement weather that often washes out roads to the access points, Susana and her team were able to finish final installation at several of the sites, and complete new installations at others that had long been waiting to bring fresh drinking water to their students.

 

Our Election is over and rain has started to fall. This would mean that we can now proceed with our pending engagement with the World Food Program (on their Hunger Alleviation Program) and monitor the pumps previously installed in the schools affected by the long dry season. We have intensified our advocacy on environmental protection over the past months."

 

For August, Susana has updated the project with the newest number of water pumps issued and either completely installed, or underway. These are reflected in the municipality section below in bold, but it is important to point out that with these new 39 schools, an estimated 16,509 students can be counted as now having access to clean water in this latest phase of the project!

 

We have targeted 40 water pumps for this year and I think we can still add 10 more units based on available funds."  

With Susana's help (and Google Maps), we have been able to pinpoint the South Upi schools completed during this period and you can view them at our interactive map here. In the coming weeks, Susana will confirm the actual numbers of students and population being served by each completed water well - look for the growing number totals at our main page banner! We also continue to add new photos to each school that has had an opening ceremony to mark their new well coming online.

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In addition to South Upi, below is the August 2016 status update to all of the municipalities currently being planned for future well restoration projects: 

1. Buldon:

As per confirmation with the PTA, TIC and district supervisor of the West District, Buldon is ready for installation. The PTA started digging for the installation of the hand pump. Individual schools which will be serviced in Buldon are waiting for the scheduled release of the materials. For the East District, the district supervisor will be confirming if the schools already prepared the needed counterparts. Update per August 2016: Seven units installed, bringing the total to 1,007 students benefited by our efforts in Buldon.

2. Datu Saudi Uy Ampatuan:

As discussed with MPDC, final talks with the municipal and school administrators will be conducted and they have already extended invitations to the Institute and our volunteers to the handover ceremony. This will provide the opportunity for the Mayor to oversee the actual ceremony and allow for a photo opportunity of the actual installation in one or two schools. Schedules will be provided as they are confirmed. Update per August 2016: Nine units installed in Datu Saudi Uy Ampatuan bringing total of students benefited in this region to 5,565.

3. Matanog:

The mobilization of additional materials and installation costs still needs to be discussed with the Mayor and the barangay chairperson. Discussions with the MPDC have already been made and met with their approval.

4. South Upi:

Per feedback from the district supervisor, the schools within the district are digging for the installation and as mentioned earlier, materials have been fully released and the process is underway. We are still waiting for further feedback from our colleagues that have been deployed to South Upi for verification on the status of the installation. With South Upi and all the municipalities, we will be updating the status of progress as we enter the next stages. Update per August 2016: Ten units (8 installed, 2 currently underway) bringing students served in South Upi to 5,369. 

5. Talayan:

Update per August, 4 units (2 installed, 2 currently underway) bringing the number of students served in this municipality to 1,408.

6. Sultan Sa Barognis:

Update per August, 9 units (8 installed, one on-going) bringing the number of students served in Sultan to 3,160.

 

Today we officially mark the turning over of installed water pumps to ten schools in South Upi, Maguindanao. Our partners on the ground here are the UN World Food Programme, Local Government, the Department of Education and several community volunteers."

 

Dr. Anayatin Reminds us of the ongoing Conflict in Maguindanao:

The South Upi District is home to one of the most diverse populations in Maguindanao. Christians, Muslims and an indigenous peoples tribe called the T'duray all makeup the overall population. But being diverse, also has brought conflict - the same conflict that has impacted the entire southern Philippines for four decades. We continue to monitor the ongoing struggle for peace in the country, especially because as Susana has pointed out with each new effort to restore clean drinking water to another school, violence in the region makes the task that much more difficult to do.

But there is new hope in the Philippines. The International Crisis Group just released a report stating that "the southern Philippines is potentially closer to peace than at any time in the four decades since the Muslim insurgents started fighting for independence, but the substantial progress over the past six years is also fragile." See full report here. Susana concurs with much of the ICG Report:

 

With the advent of new leadership in the country, as usual we are optimistic that changes will take place. The Peace Process requires a wait and see attitude ... but the Peace Pact signed between the MNLF and MILF are good working starting points. What is important at this time is to uphold the ceasefire agreement between the insurgent groups and the government. New approaches and strategies to achieve a sustainable peace must be the road map ... people are already tired of this four decades-long armed conflict; the longest now in the the world." 

 

It is worth reminding all those who follow our progress in Maguindanao, that the ongoing effort to bring clean water to the schools and communities of the province, would have been a lot more difficult without the power of social media - and the support made possible by you. The generosity by those who support us as we continue to share our stories of struggle and progress online, are the lifeblood to what we do. Please share our progress with your friends and colleagues - join us in our fight to solve the water crisis in Maguindanao! 

 

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