Pagadian City is the capital city of
the Province of Zamboanga del Sur in Mindanao. It is
classified as a second class city and is composed of
54 barangays. Its population of 161,300 generally relies
on a livelihood based on agriculture and fishing. The
city's topography is irregular, one that is probably
comparable to that of Tagaytay City.
city's potable water supply is provided by the Pagadian
City Water District (PCWD). Formed in 1976, the PCWD
has over 14,000 active service connections and sources
its water from deep wells and springs. One of these
spring sources is the Manga Spring located at Barangay
Spring sits about 40 meters above sea level but is
located on a deep ravine more that 200 meters below
the average ground level of the barangay proper. Developed
by the local government in the early 90's, the spring's
development was turned over to PCWD in 2000. The water
district has continuously improved on the original
spring development since then. The source now yields
40 liters per second, and water is pumped twice before
reaching the 300 cubic meter reservoir that PCWD has
constructed at the barangay proper.
sourced from the Manga spring is PCWD's best in quality.
Aside from the usual laboratory tests regularly conducted
on water sourced from this spring, a "special
test" was also conducted back in 2000 by Japanese
experts, during a training-seminar jointly conducted
by LWUA and the Japanese International Cooperation
Agency (JICA) in Roxas City, Capiz. More than 20 water
districts participated, one of which was PCWD. All
participating water districts were required to bring
raw water samples of their sources for actual testing
using a state-of-the-art laboratory equipment brought
in by the Japanese experts cum resource persons. It
was determined that the water sample from Manga spring
was best among other samples tested during that training-seminar.
Waterfalls at Pagadian City's Manga Spring watershed
somehow baffled the Japanese experts was the result
of the electric conductivity test made on the water
sample from Pagadian City's Manga Spring. The test
would determine whether the water's source is a spring
or a deep well. Results showed that the Manga Spring
water was from a deep well, contrary to the PCWD representative's
(the author) claim that it came from a spring source.
It was then surmised that the spring's location was
probably not a ravine before, but due to soil erosion
or some geologic movements in the past, scouring could
have exposed the aquifer.
timers of Pagadian City claim that there indeed was
a big earthquake during the 50's that caused massive
erosion and made most parts of the Panguil Bay's shores
swampy where it was not before. The Manga area could
have been eroded the same way.
Manga Spring is a special water source and PCWD has
committed its resources towards its proper protection.
has purchased 11 hectares of rolling land surrounding
the Manga Spring, including the steep slopes, and
conveniently calls it the "Manga Watershed"
although it could actually be just a buffer zone.
The spring is approximately at the center of the 11-hectare
buffer zone. The area would have been nothing more
than an ordinary land except that it has turned out
to be the "birthplace" of a bigger project.
and members of Pagadian City's Knights of Columbus
get their hands soiled for environmental rehabilitation.
Their output: 15,000 seeds planted as of April
the area are pristine trees, a clear-water creek,
a waterfall and and varied wildlife: birds, wild cats
(locally known as maral or milô)
snakes, wild monkeys (more than 20 heads as of the
latest count), and other species. First growth dao,
bogo, lawaan, apitong trees, and other wild varieties
are within the area. The Manga Watershed is usually
foggy, especially during the rainy season.
some portions of the 11-ha. land are denuded, a result
of earlier kaingin (slash and burn) activities.
Surrounding the area are farms planted mostly to coconut
trees and corn, and rice fields downstream.
planting activity was initiated by the Pagadian City
Water District, wholeheartedly supported by many non-government
organizations (NGOs) that include the Rotary Club
of Pagadian, the Rotary Club of Pagadian West, the
Inner Wheel Club of Pagadian, the Inner Wheel Club
of Pagadian West, the different councils of the Knights
of Columbus in Pagadian City, Couples for Christ,
Gawad Kalinga beneficiaries and partners, students
of many schools, government employees, CWL and other
The Rotary Clubs of Pagadian and Pagadian West
in one of their tree planting activities for
PCWD'S "A Million Trees Project" (Photos
above and below)
section of the 11-ha. area has been named "Rotary
Hill" in recognition of the tree planting activity
the Rotarians conduct in that section annually.
tree-planting activities slow down due to lack of
seedlings. Some government agencies that are tasked
to provide the planting materials simply say they
have none, or if seedlings are available, these are
for sale. This poses a challenge to PCWD's vision
to reforest its watershed, but PCWD has summoned its
resolve to meet the challenges head-on.
Manga Watershed provides the inspiration for PCWD
to push further. In the later months of last year,
it launched its "A Million Trees" (1MT)
Project. The project aims to plant one million
trees within Pagadian City, covering 54 barangays.
Buoyed by the support of different groups in its tree
planting activities earlier in Manga, PCWD has now
gone into forest nursery and massive tree planting
in all barangays in Pagadian City. Manga became the
center of activity; it is where the forest nursery
has been established.
project's realization is gradual but PCWD aims to
sustain it until one million trees are planted and
grown. Late last year, it produced over 20,000 seedlings
and distributed them to whoever was interested to
plant trees, provided the area to be planted was within
Pagadian City. The seedlings are given free.
part of its resolve to see Pagadian City planted to
a million trees, PCWD has taken to hiring, during
summer, high school graduates and college students
under the Summer Job Program and assigned them to
seedling propagation activities at Manga.
"1MT Project" is not as simple as it appears.
At one time, PCWD propagated 16 kerocans of mahogany
seeds estimated to be between 300,000 and 400,000
seeds. Sadly, not even 10% of it germinated. Upon
inspection, the seeds, which were placed inside sacks,
were found to be damp; they developed molds and died
before they could propagate. It was part of PCWD's
learninbg curve, so to speak. Recently, another seed
propagation activity has been started, utilizing 30
kerocans of mahogany seeds which PCWD acquired from
Liloy, Zamboanga del Norte.
watershed shows off part of its lush greenery
mahogany? PCWD is an "amateur" as far as
knowledge in forestry is concerned, although it is
learning fast. It learned, for instance, that mahogany
is not actually a Philippine variety and that it may
not be friendly to Philippine birds. One critic cited
that Philippine birds do not frequent mahogany trees.
the other hand, why not? What entices Filipinos to
plant trees? Help the environment? What about financial
is a tree of commercial variety. Its lumber now sells
at P30 to P40 per board foot, and the market is big.
Mahogany trees grow fast, thus, their commercial feasibility
the water district's regular radio program anchored
by the GM Yorong himself, PCWD encourages people to
help the environment by planting trees. He urges landowners,
especially owners of lands which are not suited to
crops because of their slopes or because these are
rocky, and of lands simply not being tilled for whatever
reason, to plant trees instead. Pagadian City has
a total land area of 33,380 hectares. Assuming that
there shall be 400 trees to a hectare, one million
seedlings could only occupy 2500 hectares or 7.5%
of the city's land area. And because every square
inch of Pagadian City is a part of its watershed,
these trees can definitely add protection to the watershed.
The long term benefit is unquantifiable.
Hill, a section of the Manga Watershed planted
with trees exclusively by Rotarians.
million trees planted in Pagadian City is not the
ultimate goal of the project, however. PCWD intends
to increase that number in the future, and not limit
the coverage area to Pagadian City alone. Neighboring
towns may avail of or adopt the project. When people
start reaping what they planted and realize that there's
actually money in it, replanting may follow.
seedlings are needed and the cycle may run infinitely.
PCWD is also considering for this project other varieties
as well, especially fruit trees. But this will depend
on the people's enthusiasm to plant.
project entails costs but is duly provided for by
PCWD in its yearly budget outlay. It is happy to do
so, encouraged by the fact that the project is being
supported by different sectors: the NGOs, the GOs,
the barangay people, the city government, students
and youth, and most of all, by the Department of Environment
and Natural Resources.
TUBIG KINABUHI. ATO KINING GAMITON SA HUSTO, TINUBDAN