Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) held a meeting with the different stakeholders of the Metro Cebu Septage Treatment Plant (STP) Project last February 28, 2018 at the MCWD office headquarters. The purpose of the meeting was to provide updates on the project to the different stakeholders which include representatives from Local Government Units (LGUs) National Government Agencies (NGAs), and members of the Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board (MCDCB), among others. Mr. Katsumi Fuji, head of the JICA Study Team, presented the preliminary concept and the plan of the survey of the STP.
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After the presentation by the JICA Study Team, a panel of two reactors provided insights and understanding of the projects, and addressed a few questions to the presenters. The panel was composed of Mr. Jose Baclayon, officer of Cebu Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), and Engr. Cindylyn Pepito of Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB).
During the open forum, stakeholders addressed several questions to the JICA Study Team with regards to the plans for the project. Ms. Jennifer del Mar, Private Secretary Sangguniang Panlungsod from Mandaue City, raised the concern regarding the final collection fees by the MCWD from the households and if the project would be affected in thir is a change of leadership. Mr. Bong Espina, MCWD point person and local counterpart of the JICA Study Team, stated that since they are still at the preliminary survey phase, they can not yet determine the collection fees and regards to the upcoming election MCWD and JICA reiterate that the project will not be affected if there is a change politically which was re-assured by DILG 7 Assistant Regional Direct Elias Fernandez. With regards to the planned expansion of the existing STP in the North Reclamation Area, Ms. Lorna Q. Moreno of Brgy. Mabolo asked if parts of the barangay will be affected. Mr. Fuji said that should the barangay be affected, they will first consult the City Government first. Ms. Charmaigne Rodriguez of MCWD also mention that MCWD will be conducting IEC (Information Education Campaign) to the Barangay Leaders to hear their feedback and comments in regards to the project.
After the meeting, we were able to interview some representatives of the LGUs present on the stakeholder’s meeting. Ms. Moreno serves as barangay administrator in Brgy. Mabolo. She stressed out the importance of the Septage Management Project as a necessity to meet the population growth in Mabolo. Her focus is mainly on the migrants. Mabolo is concerned about the increasing influx of migrants and the pressure on the environment as a consequence of this population growth. She is, therefore, in favor of educating the residents and the migrants on the proposed STP.
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Ms. Del Mar of Mandaue City also emphasized the pressure on the environment because of the population growth. This creates a lot of problems like garbage and polluted rivers. That’s why the Septage Management Project is of great importance. Next to the environmental concern, she also mentioned the importance of the project for health reasons since the project also focuses on the cleaning of sceptic tanks to ensure drinkable water.
Aristotlo N. Tunacao, counselor for Brgy. Umapad, Mandaue City agreed on the health concern of Ms. Jennifer del Mar. The Septage Management project is of great importance to ensure the health of the inhabitants of Umapad.