Manila Water Foundation brings hope to families and forest rangers in Bulacan

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Manila Water and Manila Water Foundation launched several projects for the families living within the Ipo watershed in Norzagaray, Bulacan. Among them are the construction of sanitation facilities for toilet-less families, provision of capacity-building and  livelihood training centered on crafting bamboo products, and the donation of motorboats for Ipo’s forest rangers.

Manila Water Foundation (MWF) capped off the month-long list of water access, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH program) events in celebration of the 26th anniversary of Manila Water. A fitting close to the anniversary activities was the launch of projects for families in the Ipo Watershed in Norzagaray, Bulacan.

In an event entitled Paglago ng Pag-asa, MWF launched the Integrated WASH - Sanitation Project and the Environment - Project Buhò for the benefit of Sitio Sapang Munti community and the Bantay Gubat or forest rangers protecting the critical watershed serving millions in Metro Manila.  

After improving water access to the community in 2022, the next phase will complement the system of 19-watering points delivering clean potable water for Sitio Sapang Munti with MWF leading the construction of safely managed sanitation facilities for toilet-less families. Aside from the goal of eliminating the practice of open defecation in the community, the project aims to protect the raw water quality within the watershed and support the health and dignity of families, especially women and young girls. 

Furthermore, Project Buhò was launched as an integrated community development program through a series of capacity-building training on livelihood based on bamboo and other  non-timber products. In partnership with social enterprise Bambuhay, the project seeks to harness the development of crafts and marketable items from the sturdy bamboo which symbolizes the Filipino’s spirit of resiliency.

Present at the Paglago ng Pag-asa event were MWF President and Manila Water President and CEO Jocot de Dios, and Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Administrator Engr. Bobby Cleofas. Partner agencies such as Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples were represented in the event. The men and women of Sitio Sapang Munti community were represented by Ipo Chieftain Renato Santos, and Ipo Forest Ranger Leader Mario Cruz.  

To enable Bantay Gubat become more efficient environmental stewards, two motorboats were donated for the use of the 36 forest rangers as they patrol the river within the watershed.  

On behalf of the forest rangers, leader Mario Cruz said, "Maraming salamat po sa inyong tulong. Ang mga bangkang ito ang magiging daan para pagbutihin pa namin ang aming tungkulin at trabaho na protektahan ang Ipo Watershed. Lubos po kayong makakaasa na ito ay aming iingatan. (Thank you very much for your help. These boats will be a means to further improve our duty and work to protect the Ipo Watershed. Be assured that we will take good care of these.)

Hand in hand with the community members and institutional partners, Manila Water Foundation will pave the way for the implementation of projects that will improve health, sanitation and livelihood for the families living in the watershed.

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