USAID-SURGE and JICA collaborate for Tagbilaran project

Photo shows the key people behind the collaborative meeting between JICA and USAID-SURGE for the Sewerage and Septage Management Project in Tagbilaran City. From left USAID-SURGE Coordinator Linda Paredes, JICA Project Director Yoshitomo Miura, Water Supply Engineer Rene Flordeliz, Economist Ace Neptuno, City Mayor John Geesnell “BABA” Yap, JICA Project Formulation Advisor Tomihara Takayuki, JICA Deputy Team Leader and Environmentalist Diolina Mercado, TCWS Engr. Peter Busano and City Budget Maximo Gida.

Capacity-building from USAID-SURGE

Former Chief Executive Officer of Apple Inc. and Former President of Pepsi-Cola John Sculley once said “There are just moments when all the stars are aligned for breakthroughs.” This can aptly describe the meet-up which happened between USAID-SURGE and JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency), two international non-government organizations, which have collaborated in Tagbilaran City to discuss about one thing, Sewerage and Septage Management. It was last year when USAID-SURGE Coordinator Linda Paredes started setting up meetings and evaluations with City Mayor John Geesnell “BABA” Yap and Tagbilaran City Waterworks System (TCWS) Head Engr. Peter Busano about Septage Management. After much discussion, various interventions have been made to capacitate TCWS to manage its challenges. A series of study tours led by USAID-SURGE brought key personnel from the City Health Office, Tagbilaran City Waterworks, City Engineering Office and the City Planning and Development Office in a benchmarking activity in Dumaguete, Bulacan and Manila. The exposure gave the team insights on how to jumpstart a Septage Management. The premise of which is anchored in crafting ways for the protection of the groundwater source in Tagbilaran City. Prior to the benchmarking activity, the group also attended the Water Links Forum 2016, a 2-day international conference, workshop and trade exhibition on the latest solutions, tools and interactions of Asia’s water and waste water operators. A ring-fencing activity was also conducted which revisited and renewed the overall direction of the TCWS. The two-day training and workshop made sure that the financial, technical, institutional arrangements of the TCWS were supportive and consistent in its goal of achieving improved services.

Infrastructure support from JICA

With all the technical know-how, TCWS now has the pertinent data to launch an efficient intervention program to improve its service-delivery. And as if heaven was behind the timing of events, JICA comes into the picture, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has chosen Tagbilaran City together with Baguio, Angeles, Calamba, Cagayan De Oro, Cebu and Davao for possible projects in the water and sewerage/septage sectors. The first phase of the initiative will review the present condition of water/sewerage (septage) system in the City and updating of data to formulate the needed assistance in the sector. The second phase will include intensive studies of various approaches and strategies to improve existing technologies in managing and developing sewerage and septage systems. This phase will also identify the technical and financial interventions by JICA to Tagbilaran City. The JICA Deputy Team Leader and Environmentalist, Diolina Mercado said that project implementation will be mapped out early next year, as soon as all the studies are completed this year.

Mayor Yap, who has been reiterating the importance of waste water treatment and transportation in a tourism-driven industry like Tagbilaran, has committed to support this noteworthy project.


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