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AFP-CRS, DAR provide water, sanitation facilities in the countryside

MANILA, Feb. 28 – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) have joined hands in providing water and sanitation (WatSan) facilities in many villages throughout the country as part of the government’s community outreach program.

DAR and AFP officials said hundreds of farming households in several villages in Eastern Samar, La Union and Davao will now be safe from water-borne diseases after DAR launched the Community-Managed Potable Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (CPWASH) project in those areas.

DAR, in partnership with the Philippine Center for Water and Sanitation (PCWS) and AFP Civil Relations Service (CRS), will train members of farmers’ organizations and residents of agrarian reform communities (ARCs) on how to construct, operate, manage and maintain low-cost potable water and sanitation system.

AFP-CRS said the project is part of its Bayanihan intiative called Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) aimed to win the peace in the countryside.

“We [at DAR] are pushing this project in response to the water-borne diseases that threaten ARCs, especially those in remote areas where people lack potable drinking water,” said Susana Leones, director of the Bureau of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Development (BARBD).

The CPWASH consists of biogas digester, iron removal filter and bio-sand filter. These are low-cost, indigenous based materials and pro-poor technology aimed at improving access to water supply and proper sanitation services.

Studies made by DAR showed that installing these indigenous water supplies will eliminate too much iron and bacteria present in most water-wells in the rural areas. The device can also help reduce greenhouse emissions in the environment.

“We found out that diseases like E. Coli, diarrhea, amoebiasis and dysentery are among the common illnesses of farming folks that are lacking access to clean and safe drinking water. The installation of water filters like CPWASH and teaching the residents of proper hygiene and sanitation will ensure their safety from these diseases,” Leones said.

The DAR project will also enable farmers to learn how to construct the bio-gas digester that converts human wastes and other biodegradable trash into bio-gas, that residents can use for their cooking as a cheap alternative to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

Under the project, concerned local government units (LGUs) will shoulder the cost of materials, the farmers’ organizations in the areas provide laborers and indigenous materials and the PCWS take care of the engineering technology through trainings and hands-on construction. (PNA)

DCT/scs/CJT/JCA

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