January 31, 2023

TUBA, Benguet – Water stored at the rain catch basin at Mount Sto. Tomas will be subjected to regular testing to ensure it is safe from contaminants before it is released to a number of households in the southern part of Baguio.
This was the agreement reached by representatives of concerned offices from Baguio and Tuba on March 2 when Mayor Benjamin Magalong and City Administrator Bonifacio Dela Peña led the inspection of the reservoir managed by the Baguio Water District.
Also present during the site inspection were Tuba Municipal Legal Officer George Fukai III, City Environment and Parks Management chief Rhenan Diwas, City Veterinary and Agriculture Officer Brigit Piok, and representatives from BWD and Department of Public Works and Highways.
Dela Peña said there is a laboratory in San Fernando City, La Union where water samples taken from the reservoir will be subjected to laboratory analysis, which will be the guide of the concerned offices for cause of action.
Aside from water stored at the reservoir, samples will also be taken from surrounding bodies of water to be tested for nitrates and other harmful contaminants. The presence of commercial vegetable farms within the vicinity of the more than 10-hectare reservoir could also be an issue among concerned offices.
It was mentioned during the inspection that there is no existing report or study that shows that the presence of commercial farms has contaminated the water in the reservoir.
Officials present during the inspection were informed that runoff water from a creek traversing the commercial farms find its way to the catchment basin during typhoon.
The catch basin will be drained more than year after its latest major rehabilitation. The reservoir can store up to 700,000 cubic meters.
It is the second time the Sto. Tomas catch basin underwent major rehabilitation after it was turned over to the BWD by the city government of Baguio in the ‘80s. The first rehabilitation took place post the 1990 earthquake, until BWD under General Manager Salvador Royeca’s watch secured a huge funding for its second rehabilitation. – Harley F. Palangchao