Hiking several miles atop the hill just to fetch water will no longer be a daily struggle for every Caluyanhon. This is the promise brought by the construction of Palawan Spring Box and Water Tank in the island municipality of Caluya. A promise made possible by the Performance Challenge Fund.

Caluya is a first class island municipality in the northernmost part of the province of Antique. The municipality consists of three major islands (Semirara, Caluya, and Sibay) as well as several minor islets, namely, Liwagao, Nagubat, Panagatan, Sibato and Sibolo all located in the Tablas Strait between Mindoro and Panay islands. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 30,046 people. This island municipality can be reached in approximately 5 hours pump boat ride from Lipata, Culasi, Antique or 3 hours from Libertad, Antique. A commercial sea vessel is plying the Libertad-Caluya route on a scheduled basis.

Having been conferred with the Seal of Good Housekeeping in 2011, the Municipality of Caluya was able to access the Performance Challenge Fund in 2012 worth one million pesos. The municipal government has identified the development of the Palawan Spring in Barangay Sabang as a response to one of the major problems on the provision of potable water to its residents. The community depends on the deep wells which are very limited to the beneficiaries of Barangays Poblacion and Sabang and only few of these were identified to be safe for drinking. Palawan watershed is identified to have abundant source of water that can cater the residents of the two barangays. The LGU as part of its counterpart has already bought the land area where the spring is located and has been secured by a fence in order to protect the place from incidences that might threaten the condition of the area. The project is located in Sition Napay between Barangay Sabang and Poblacion and it is 1.5 kilometers away from the main road.

The PCF grant was utilized to construct a new spring box which served as a catch basin fo r the flowing water from the Palawan Spring. This is an addition to the existing spring box which was constructed in the late 1970s.  A cylindrical water tank has been constructed as well in the downhill from the stream which will serve as the main reservoir.  The construction started in the later part of 2012 and was completed in July 2013. A total of 2, 259 residents from the two barangays benefited on this project and now enjoys\ the convenience of accessing potable water in their communal faucets.

Punong Barangay Elvero de San Jose of Brgy. Sabang narrated that before the Palawan Spring was developed the people in Sabang have to get their water from a source in a place they called “Ambulong” which is a distance away from the barangay proper. The gallons of water then are transported by a carabao-driven cart traversing the hilly landscapes of the area. He said that the ordeal is even worst during rainy season when it is harder to reach the place. The improvements made in Palawan Spring have been very beneficial to the 9 97 populace of Sabang, he said as they can now access water on a scheduled basis without going up the unclear terrain.

A family of 9 residing near the site in Sitio Napay has been very glad of how the project eased their scuffle just to get safe water for drinking. Jean Bulyanday, one of the family members accounted how they used to go uphill just to fetch potable water and end up having their containers half-filled when they return to their home.  According to her, the slippery way had always been a difficulty they endure when fetching water from the spring. The construction of a spring box and the pipes being laid down from the water source has been very helpful to them especially during rainy season. “Indi run kami mabudlayan pa magbuol tubig,” she said. (It will no longer be difficult for us to fetc h water.)

Mayor Genevive Lim Reyes said that the municipality is massively investing on Water System Projects in order to ensure that everyone has an access to safe and potable water. The project in Palawan is among those being continuously developed and we are grateful for the support provided by the DILG through the PCF that we were able to construct a new Spring Box and a Water Tank which will serve as a reservoir for the distribution lines.

The municipality has acquired the site to ensure the smooth implementation of the project and for future expansions which will not benefit only the people from Sabang and Poblacion but the other nearby barangays here in Caluya Island.  Once fully completed, the municipal government of Caluya is planning to turn the project into a public enterprise in order to ensure its operational sustainability.

Presently the project is undergoing its first phase of expansion with funding support from the Bottom-up Budgeting on the Provision of Potable Water provided by the DILG in 2013 for the municipality of Caluya. This is one testament to the commitment of the municipality in their investment for the Water Supply Projects in the island. The PCF has kicked-off the realization of one of these projects and the support shown by the LGU has transformed the project beyond its physical structure into a materialized hope of every Caluyanhons. The one million peso grant for fostering accountability and transformation has marked the Municipality of Caluya among those highlighting Performance that Changes the Future. (LGOO V Christian M. Nagaynay, DILG6)