Isabela City, Basilan is taking a stand for a cleaner environment and healthier communities by launching a septage management program with a groundbreaking ceremony in Barangay Tabiawan, Isabela City during the recent Earth Day celebration. The program, supported by the U.S. Embassy Manila’s United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will improve the City’s septage services, providing thousands of people with access to clean water and sanitation and promoting better hygiene to prevent water-borne diseases.
“The program will ensure that septage will be regularly collected from septic tanks and properly treated to protect the environment and people’s health,” said Aleli Almodovar, general manager of the Isabela City Water District (Isawad), a longtime proponent of a citywide septage management program.
USAID, through its Water Security for Resilient Economic Growth (Be Secure) Project, supported Isawad and Isabela City with trainings and domestic study visits for water district, barangay council members and local city officials of Isabela City to demonstrate successful implementation of septage management programs.
USAID also supported Isabela City in passing its septage ordinance, which was achieved on January 22. This landmark legislation will pave the way for introducing more water supply and sanitation-related policies and programs in Mindanao. In Isabela City, the ordinance will help Isawad implement the septage management program, which will benefit 47,000 people. USAID will continue its support by building local capacity to operate and maintain the Isabela City Septage Facility.
“USAID is here because investing in clean water and sanitation is not only an investment in the economy, but also in the improved health of its citizens, and the environment,” says Paul Mason, senior development advisor of USAID Philippines.
In addition to the groundbreaking held last April 21, orientation meetings on the Septage Management Program will be conducted in Isabela City to promote better appreciation among barangays of the program’s benefits and to teach the community ways to maintain septic tanks and manage wastewater at home.
The province’s first-ever WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) Day was also celebrated on Tuesday through a children’s parade, followed by activities that emphasize the importance of clean water, sanitation and good hygiene, and the right way to wash hands.