BAGUIO CITY – The city government needs at least P22 billion to complete the proposed rehabilitation of the city’s water and waste water treatment plants to significantly reduce the volume of pollutants in the different river systems.
Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong admitted the city government is compelled to avail of grants and soft loans offered by the different local and international financial lending institutions to complete the rehabilitation of the city’s water and waste water treatment facilities to help clean the city’s environment.
He said one of the international financial lending institutions that signified its intention to provide the city government with grants and soft loans for city’s water and waste water treatment plants is the Asian Development Bank (ADB) that will hold its annual board meeting in the city by the first or second quarter next year and will look into the needs of the city and assess its capacity to pay the soft loans it may provided for specific environment projects and programs.
The city chief executive claimed the city government might be able to access at least P2 billion in grants from the concerned government agencies but the P20 billion required to bankroll the full blast completion of the proposed projects will have to be taken from grants or soft loans from different financial lending institutions based on debt-to-equity ratio to ascertain the city’s capacity and ability to pay back the borrowed money.
Among the proposed projects to help the city government significantly improve its existing water and waste water treatment plants include the proposed rehabilitation and expansion of the 32-year old Baguio sewerage treatment plant, the put up of a sewerage treatment plant for the city’s abattoir and the public market, the construction of additional sewerage treatment plants along strategic areas in the Galiano, Bued and Ambalanga rivers, and the connection of all residential and commercial structures to the established sewerage treatment plants.
Further, the city government is also pushing for the construction of additional rain harvesting facilities in strategic areas in the city to ensure a huge volume of rain water is stored to be used for the increasing water requirements of the city consumers especially during the summer months.
Earlier, the Japan International Cooperating Agency (JICA) estimated the city needs at least P22 billion to completely rehabilitate the water and waste water treatment facilities and to put up similar structures to significantly reduce the pollutants in the different bodies of water flowing from their headwaters in the city up to where they drain in the lowlands.
Based on data from the Cordillera office of the Environmental Bureau (EMB-CAR), the recent reading of pollutants in the Balili river increased from the previous P1.6 trillion matter per number (MPN) per 100 milliliters of water while the reading at the Bued River increased to 465 MPN per 100 milliliters of water that was tested which indicate that the said bodies of water are heavily polluted and needing immediate interventions to prevent the situation from worsening./Dexter A. See