SAGUIARAN, LANAO DEL SUR ----- Around six thousand residents here could have an easy access of their water supply after the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) formally turned over on Monday (June 3) the water and sanitation facility at the Bualan Spring in Barangay Bualan.
The facility will help not only to the residents of Saguiaran but also of the internally displaced families who are living in the transitory shelter site in nearby Bahay Ng Pagbabago in Barangay Sagonsongan, Marawi City, some two kilometers away.
Residents can use the facility in washing their clothes and in fetching water without dealing anymore the thick muds since it was cemented all over.
It also made the lives of the Meranaws easy for Wudhu rite (washing) when they entered the Mosque to perform their prayers since the facility is built just at the entrance of the Mosque.
Wudhu is the ritual washing performed by Muslims before prayer. Muslims believed they must be clean and wear good clothes before they present themselves before God.
The area was used to be a creek where residents have to look for their place to wash, either their clothes.
"Mga 60 years na kaming nagtiis na sobrang putik ang area, tapos mag aaway away pa ang iba kasi nag-aagawan sa area. Sobrang malaking tulong ito sa amin," said Zenaida Macatanong, 60-year old resident of Bualan, whose husband, a senior citizen who can only move through a wheelchair, prays at the Mosque regularly.
Macatanong revealed that the Bualan Spring can sustain evenTh f dry season could last until a year.
"More than 60 years old na ako pero never pa namin na-experience na nawalan ng tubig yang spring na yan," she added.
Engineer Julficar Pangato, project monitoring engineer of the ICRC, the 4-million peso worth project can serve up to 11,000 people if Marawi City and the neighboring towns of Lanao del Sur would experience power interruption.
"Kasi maraming mga residente sa Marawi at ibang area sa Lanao (del) Sur ang dependent sa electric water pump kaya kung wala silang kuryente, dito sila pumupunta para mag-igib," Pangato said in an interview.
The turn-over of the facility was led by ICRC President Peter Maurer who came to the Philippines for the second time after the Yolanda tragedy in Tacloban.
"President (Peter) Maurer visits Marawi City to have a humanitarian dialogue with the local government officials and the locals, including the internally displaced persons to know the needs, two years after the siege, and bring it to the forefront and invite donors for help," said Lany dela Cruz, Senior Communications Officer of the ICRC.
Two years since the siege started, 1,100 evacuees and residents of Lanao del Sur received potable water through water-treatment facilities in two hospitals while 7,500 people from Marawi were aided with continuous running of water system through ICRC support to the Marawi City Water District.
In cooperation with the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), the ICRC supported 4,500 people in Saguiaran with water, sanitation and hygiene promotion activities.
More than 300 PRC volunteers were mobilized to support ICRC activities in Lanao del Sur.
PRC Chairman and Senator Richard Gordon said the ICRC and the PRC will continue to help and when he and Maurer will go to Davao today to meet with President Rodrigo Duterte, he will ask the president to fast track the rehabilitation of Marawi.
"We went through a very deadly experience here in Marawi and since day 1, we were already working on the streets to give the evacuees blood pressure, water, food and psychosocial support. We will continue to help," Gordon said in his message with the volunteers who met Maurer and his party.
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