BAGUIO CITY – The city government is setting its sights on the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as the potential source of funds for the rehabilitation of the existing Baguio sewerage treatment plant and the construction of similar facilities in the different parts of the city to help clean the water flowing into the different river systems.
Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong reported having talked with ADB Executive Director Paul Dominguez who in turn gave instruction to the foreign directors of the international financial institution to provide the needed assistance to the city’s environmental preservation and protection projects.
He stated the city government wants to upgrade the Baguio sewerage treatment plant from its existing capacity of some 8,600 cubic meters daily to over 22,000 cubic meters to help improve the existing water quality being discharged to the Balili River.
The city chief executive admitted the city government’s proposal for a P350 million funding from the national government for the rehabilitation of the Baguio sewerage treatment plant did not pass the criteria of the budget department thus the need for the city to access funds from the ADB or enter into a public-private partnership (PPP) with interested companies.
According to him, the rehabilitation of the existing Baguio sewerage treatment plant and the construction of similar facilities in strategic areas in the city is one of the programs, projects and activities that had been lined up by the concerned offices of the city government for the realization of one of the present administration’s 15-point collective agenda which is revitalizing the environment.
He asserted that the city government is trying to access whatever available funds outside of the city’s meagre resources so that whatever available funds from the annual budget will be used for the other priority program, projects and activities of the city.
Magalong claimed that the exiting Baguio sewerage treatment plant needs immediate rehabilitation because it is now operating beyond its capacity aside from the fact that most of its existing equipment are damaged thereby affecting the water being discharged to the Balili River.
Currently, the 32-year old sewerage treatment plant is treating some 12,600 cubic meters of sewerage water daily way above its projected capacity of 8,600 cubic meters daily.
He stipulated based on the latest monitoring of the quality of water in the Balili river, the pollutants amount to 1.6 trillion matter per number (MPN) for every 100 milliliters of water in the said river system that flows down to the nearby towns of Benguet and La Union.
The other proposed sites for the put up of additional sewerage treatment plants in the different parts of the city include the Baguio public market and abattoir areas, Lower Rock Quarry and along the Ambalanga and Bued rivers.
He emphasized the city government, in close coordination with concerned government agencies and the private sector, will exert all available efforts to help clean the waterways from the pollutants in the bodies of water flowing downstream.
By Dexter A. See