Guisao Gets P1.2-M Water System From WMSU, NGO Partners
November 28, 2006

FARMING residents of Barangay Guisao located in the city’s East Coast will soon have a new communal water system to supply them with potable and household water.

The facility will be financed by a P1.96-million loan made by the Zamboanga City Coalition of Development NGOs (Zamcode), the agreement for which was signed between it and recipient Sta. Catalina Multi-Purpose Cooperative (SCMPC) during the first day of the Anti-Poverty Symposium and Agri- Expo at Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) yesterday afternoon.

Zamcode Chairman Fr. Angel Calvo and SCMPC president Pablo Palis signed the project agreement, attested by WMSU President Dr. Eldigario Gonzales. WMSU’s Zamboanga City Partnership and Access Center (ZCPAC) serves as Zamcode’s working staff and as part of the university’s community extension service, WMSU Vice-President for Research, Extension and Development Dr. Grace Rebollos said.

Palis said the water system will be a major help in his community’s efforts to acquire basic services and amenities and improve the resident’s health, especially children. Palis, who is an evangelical pastor, is the leader of the Sta. Catalina sitio in the barangay. Residents there profess different religious faith but live in harmony and cooperation with one another, he says. He is also a convenor of the Inter-Religious Solidarity Movement for Peace (IRMSP), whose secretariat is PAZ.

The agreement signing is seen as not only a highlight of the Anti-Poverty Symposium and Expo by WMSU, but as also a part of the celebration of the Week of Peace, which will be on November 29-December 6. IRMSP is also one of the organizers of the Week’s activities.

Dr. Gonzales held the anti-poverty conference, attended by some 250 local farmer leaders, to encourage farmers to go into the production of jatropha, cassava, corn and native chiken – all of which have ready markets thrugh the intervention of the university.

Fr. Calvo said that aside from receiving the loan, Sta. Catalina’s folks will also be provided with basic health services, orgnizational development training, technical support and values formation. These are financed by Zamcode’s funding partner of Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF), he said. The loan is payable in eight years, with three years grace period.

WMSU, PEF, Zamcode and Nagdilaab Foundation had earlier forged an agreement to collaborate in providing various anti-poverty and peace-building interventions in Zamboanga City and Basilan Province. (Rey-Luis Banagudos / PAO-WMSU)