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Barangay Montesuerte in Bohol gets lucky with wind-powered water system

Carabao-drawn carts present as the only viable form of transportation in Sitio Mahayahay, Brgy. Montesuerte in Carmen town, Bohol. The cart carries containers of water fetched from a kilometer away. Unfortunately, these carts also contribute to the fast deterioration of roads, making them impassable especially during rainy days. (PIA Bohol)

The goal for the day was to reach the cluster of 28 families living on top of a plateau on the edge of Sitio Mahayahay in Barangay Montesuerte in the town of Carmen in Bohol.

Bohol Gov. Erico Aristotle Aumentado personally led the groundbreaking ceremony to signal the construction of a wind-powered water pumping system that would address the domestic and irrigation water needs of the farmers and their families, as well as provide electricity in their households. 

Mahayahay, which is the Cebuano word for comfortable, is not the word one would use to describe the experience in traveling to the sitio. 

Located 60 kilometers away from the capital, Tagbilaran City, the area is accessible only by foot. 

The provincial government’s team had to ascend past a heavily-dilapidated barangay road that snakes up a 200-meter high hill. 

The community’s supplies are delivered through carabao-drawn carts that contribute to the wear and tear on the barangay road as this scrapes the dirt road’s top soil. Erosion has exposed slippery boulders, which effectively blocks motor vehicles from going up the narrow path. 

The lives of the people in this remote village will change for the good with  the installation of the community project that will address both their water and power needs: a second-level distribution system of potable, domestic, and irrigation water and a five-kilowatt wind turbine powering a submersible water pump that will generate electricity. 

The wind-powered water pumping system is implemented by the provincial government in partnership with the non-government organization, Sibol nga Aghan at Teknolohiya (SIBAT).

Ireneo Pinarejo, 65, chairman of the Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma sa Taytay, Montesuerte (NAMATAMO).(PIA Bohol)
Water and electricity

The project will make lives much easier for the sitio residents who, for several years, had to endure scarce water supply and zero electricity. 

“Adto pa mi mokabo para imnon ug panghugas diha sa luyo aning bungtod. Ang among panguma dinhi, nagkinahanglan og tubig. Wala pod mi suga, guba pa gyud ang among karsada. Lisud i-agi kon duna mi mga produkto nga itumod, kinahanglan maayo ang among agi-anan,” said Ireneo Pinarejo, 65, chairman of the Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma sa Taytay, Montesuerte (NAMATAMO).

(We have to go behind that hill to fetch our water for drinking and washing. Our farmers here need water. We also don’t have electricity and our roads are dilapidated. It’s so hard for us when we have to move our farm products to sell. We need good roads.)

According to SIBAT project director Estrella Catara, the project would be completed in July this year. 

“The drawn water would be stored in an eight-cubic meter elevated water tank filled through a two-horsepower submersible pump and distributed to the households after passing through an ultraviolet disinfection system,” explained Catarata. 

Soon, a fixed road

Aumentado, who said that it was a bumpy ride traveling to the sitio and admitted that climbing the muddy path leading to the village was a challenge, announced that he has directed the provincial engineer’s office to send heavy equipment to fix the road.

“Nakita nato ang mga produkto dinhi, saging, lagutmon, bolanghoy, kini nagtug-an nato nga duna gyud diay produksyon ug angay lang tabangan,” the governor said. 

 (We see their products here - bananas, root crops, cassava. This shows us that there is food production here, and we have to help them.)

“Di matukib ang akong kalipay, kay mao gyud na ang among gikinahanglan, kinahanglan gyud nga maayo na ang karsada,” said Pinarejo in response to the governor’s announcement.

(I’m so happy because that’s really what we need here, a good road.) 

Aumentado told SIBAT that the provincial government is willing to partner with their group for similar projects in the future. 

“We have seen your desire to serve the underserved. We are ready to partner with you, whatever you need, we will support you,” he said. 

The groundbreaking ceremony was also witnessed by Board Member Nathaniel Binlod, Carmen Mayor Conchita delos Reyes Toribio, and Montesuerte barangay chairman Michael Belentucas. 

With this development, Brgy. Montesuerte will soon inch its way to becoming the home of comfortable and contented farmers and their families partnering with the government. (RAHC/PIA7 Bohol)

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Rachelle Nessia

Assistant Regional Head

Region 7

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