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Building the Capacities of Communities on Sustainable Water System Management: Realization of community’s sense of ownership for Candelaria Watersystem project

Candelaria’s children holding the tree saplings ceremonially given to them by the elders of the community to symbolize the responsibilities they now also carry in protecting our watersheds and water resources.

Candelaria’s children holding the tree saplings ceremonially given to them by the elders of the community to symbolize the responsibilities they now also carry in protecting our watersheds and water resources.

In December 8, 2015 the communities of Barangays Pinagrealan and Lauis in Candelaria, Zambales inaugurated their watersystem under the proud gaze of the AES Philippine Power Foundation (AESPPF). It was the culmination of years of hard work where AESPPF sought to improve the quality of life of the residents of Pinagrealan and Lauis by funding a watersystem project which would provide them a domestic water supply.

Since April of 2015, the communities have eagerly offered their resources towards the completion of the watersystem with the Pinagrealan-Lauis Upland Farmers Association (PILUFA) as the lead People’s Organization assisting the project. PILUFA Public Information Officer Rosy Cris Ruiz, was one of the community members who spoke during the event. She described how none of the women hesitated to assist the men even for difficult tasks like carrying rocks and pipes through mountainous terrain.

A sense of ownership was prevalent in the gathered community. They know that the watersystem was not simply given to them, but was driven to completion because of their efforts and determination. This was summarized by Mr. Ashraf Mansha, Plant Manager of Masinloc Power Partners Co., Ltd. who said “we can put a pile of money here, and a pile of building supplies there, but none of it will amount to anything without you, the community, who worked as a family for this project”.

Ms. Cynthia Pantonal, Executive Director of AESPPF talked about overcoming the obstacles faced by the project, especially during the initial stages when there were problems with the water getting to where it was needed. She commended the efforts of the stakeholders including the Jaime V. Ongpin Foundation Inc., (JVOFI) as their implementing partner which ultimately led to the successful inauguration of the Candelaria Watersystem. The water comes from a spring 9 kilometers from the source traverses through gravity flow with high-density polyethylene pipes.// #FSAyugat

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