San Fernando City, La Union (19 July) — As of 9:45 am, July 16, the United States. Ambassador to the Philippines His Excellency Ambassador Harry P. Thomas Jr. arrived at the San Fernando City for the Groundbreaking Ceremony of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Sewerage and Septage Management Project in Barangay Mameltac, this city.
Congressman Victor Francisco C. Ortega, City Mayor Pablo Ortega, Vice-Mayor Hermenegildo “Dong” Gualberto, former City Mayor Mary Jane Ortega, outgoing Rotary President Mr. Roderick So and incoming President Harvey Tan, Department of Environment and Natural Resources Director Samuel Peñafiel welcomed the US dignitary and party.
With the United States envoy are Rick Nelson – Public Affairs Officer, Pete Broadbent – Control Officer and Roger Carlson – USAID, Acting Director.
The USAID – Rotary San Fernando City Sewerage and Septage Management Project is a USAID-Rotary International H2O Collaboration Project that aims to address the sanitation problem in this lone city of the province.
This issue is a big health risk challenge for San Fernando the fact that drinking water wells which underwent samplings showed widespread contamination that threatens a huge area with water-borne bacteria.
Though many of the residents would want to dislodge their septic tanks, the high cost of the service which is one of the highest in the country hinders them.
Project cost amounts to about P25.46 million, with a shared breakdown of P5 million from Rotary International, P0.46 million from USAID, and a counterpart of a concrete road, lot with an area of 1.2 hectares and fencing amounting to P20 million from the City of San Fernando.
Congressman Ortega said in his speech that this is “another milestone for the city of San Fernando” and to show his full support to the project, he pledged to give P2million of his countryside development fund (CDF) provided the said fund won’t be sliced in the House of Congress.
He urged the people to support all projects that concern the environment, for the city to be a citizen and environment-friendly city.
Ambassador Thomas made a stress in his speech that “an investment of a clean water and sanitation is an investment to the economy, and USAID is a proud partner in protecting health, the environment and the citizens of this country.”
After the program proper, Thomas spearheaded the groundbreaking and laying of the time capsule together with Cong. Ortega, Mayor Ortega, Mr. Roderick So and all the local officials and Rotarians present.