By Danica Marie Supnet
Before we left the municipality of Javier, I asked Engr. Fernando Sarile if he could give me a copy of their project design and feasibility studies. Unfortunately this wasn’t possible because all of their documents were not spared by Typhoon Yolanda. Engr. Ellen Gavina said that their office was the first hit by the storm surge. The office was located twenty (20) meters away from the seashore in Palo, Leyte. The only way to access the lost documents is by requesting it through the ARCP national office.
The municipality of Tolosa is thirty (30) minutes away from Javier. Tolosa is known as the “Imelda City” because it is the bastion of the Romuldezes, the family of the former first lady Imelda Marcos, spouse of the late Pres. Ferdinand Marcos, and now the congresswoman of the province of Ilocos. Tolosa is a fifth class municipality.
The only ARCP project in Tolosa is the Potable Water System (PWS). According to Engr. Danny Parayno, access to clean water is the main concern of the communities in Tolosa especially in Brgy. Capangihan and Brgy. Canmugsay. These barangays are located at the foot of the mountains in Tolosa where the main source or the water reservoir is located. We weren’t able to see the water reservoir because it was a bit far from the barangays and slippery due to the recurring rain.
According to Engr. Parayno, there are twenty (20) single faucet PWS and fifteen (15) double faucet PWS constructed around the vicinity of the barangays. The quantity of the PWS is said be enough to supply clean water in these areas.
Engr. Parayno added that the environmental safeguards considered in the project include the protection of the water reservoir in the mountains and the issues on the right of way. The project secured an Environment Compliance Certificate (ECC) and Certificate of Non Coverage (CNC) from the Department of Natural Resources (DENR) to ensure compliance.
Tolosa is the last stop for the local tracking of ARCP projects in Leyte but definitely not the last in the Visayas Region. After visiting these projects, it is time to think back whether the questions of AFAI was answered—where does the money go and how is it utilized? Specifically, where does the ADB funding go? It was established easily that the climate-tagged ADB fund went to the Agrarian Reform Communities Program (ARCP) of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). In the case of Tolosa and Javier, how was it utilized? However, the argument whether the funding translated into projects or programs for climate change adaptation in the communities is yet to be determined. It is too early to generalize our findings with these ARCP projects, which are just parts of a bigger tracking initiative in the Philippines.
The most important impact of my work here in Leyte is that the regional officers and the local planners were interested with AFAI. Even if they thought of it as too technical, they still hope that the local tracking research would help them improve their programs and instruments of measuring effectiveness.
Before we head back to the regional office of DAR in Tacloban, Engr. Gavina made sure to let me visit one of the historical landmark in Palo, Leyte—the Mac Arthur Landing Park. Now, I can finally say “I shall return to Leyte”.