More than 300 farmers and concerned residents of Tiaong town in Quezon province have assembled in front of the municipal hall, expressing their sentiments and strong opposition to the Lumbo Spring Water Project.
The farmers, many of whom belong to MAPAKALIKASAN or Mamamayan Para sa Kapakanan ng Kalikasan ng Bukal ng Lumbo, denounced the project, saying that the water from Lumbo Spring is their life and it belongs to them.
Lumbo Spring is located south of San Pablo City, Laguna, and to the west of Dolores, Quezon.
In November 2020, San Pablo City Water District (SPCWD), Dolores Water District (DWD) jointly issued a Notice of Award for the P103 Million Lumbo Spring Bulk Water Supply Project to a consortium led by Udenna Water Integrated, Inc. through a public-private partnership scheme.
The Udenna Consortium, led by Davao businessman Dennis Uy, was tasked to construct a facility to draw about 12 million liters of water daily from Lumbo Spring, which will mostly be diverted and sold to users from San Pablo, Laguna.
Describing their ordeal and alleging the ill effect of the project, Joe Barcelona, Tiaong Irrigators President, said: “We continuously and strongly oppose this [project] because this water is our life and it belongs to us.”
“We are calling on the people behind this project. If this will continue many will suffer here and when people go hungry then it will push us to do something illegal because this will hugely affect us.”
Barcelona added that one of the main sources of water that flows into the rivers and creeks of 16 Barangays is the Bulakin River, which draws a large portion of its water from the Lumbo Spring. This river body merges with the Lagnas River and the Malaking Ilog River, which further provides service in agricultural in town.
Municipal town Mayor Ramon Preza, for his part, assured the people that he shared the same sentiment and will continue to oppose the project, especially if it affects his constituents.
Preza also threatened to unite the farmers and mount an uprising similar to “People Power” if needed.
For its part, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) in the region sees a solution through House Bill No.8430 authored by 2nd district Congressman David C. Suarez, declaring Lumbo Spring as a protected watershed reservation.
According to Sofia Carmelita Resurrecion, NIA Supervising Institutional Development Officer, they will help push for its immediate enactment because it is necessary.
NIA, according to recent published reports, has raised concerns, saying the project will greatly affect and cause water shortage intended for agricultural use in the province.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has yet to release a statement on the matter as of posting.