Village chief says upstream communities caused pollution

WHILE some "irresponsible" residents may take the blame, Bonbon village chief Allan Mabalacad over the weekend claimed that the upstream communities may have contributed a lot in polluting the Macajalar Bay, especially in Barangay Bonbon

"Naa gyud (Yes we have) high level of coliform in our seashore. But dili ang taga Bonbon naka-cause ana. Hugaw gikan sa upstream paingon sa ubos nga mga hugaw ga padulong sa atong dagat. Naka-contribute man gani ang Bonbon portion lang specially sa Zone 9 ug sa Zone 1," Mabalacad said.

Mabalacad was referring to certain areas in the barangay known as "Punta" and "Puntabon", which are closer to the river's mouth, where some families use the sea as their “toilet".

"Kana nga issue gi raise ko na during my first term after sa study by the Xavier University nga ilang na found out nga taas ang coliform content sa atong dagat," Mabalacad said.

On Thursday, October 17, the city government cautioned the public against swimming in Bonbon sea, even as it disclosed that the high level of coliform monitored in Barangay Bonbon during the second quarter of this year is no cause for alarm.

City Health Officer Lorraine Nery said a second quarter water quality test showed that coliform level in Bonbon surged to 400 most probable number per 100 mL, which is way above the standard of 100 MPN/100 mL.

Coliform is found in the feces of all warm-blooded animals and humans.

Nery said the 400 coliform level is already high and would have caused them to declare the Bonbon seawater not safe for swimming.

Mabalacad is calling for a "Zero Open" defecation particularly in Zone 9 Puntabon, urging the people there not to dump human wastes directly into the river creek or seawater.

"Sa kadugay nga panahon pud nga mao ilang practice for sure na accumulate ang hugaw ang naka dugang pagdaghan sa maong bacteria. But nanawagan napud ko ana before sa among meeting uban sa mga Barangay nga naay mga lumolopyo nga daplin sa suba nga kung mahimo dili na mangalibang diretso sa suba. I need to reiterate again apil pud ang mga establishment nga directly nag connect sa ilang mga hinugasan sa suba. Certainly, paingon gyud na sa Bonbon specially kung magtaub (high tide) na," Mabalacad said.

For his part, Bonbon village councilor Jerome Sambaan appealed to everyone not to generalize the entire Bonbon sea as not safe for swimming.

For one, Sambaan said Barangay Bonbon - which is known for its Tamban-Nipa produce - houses beach resorts that have served the public for a long time such as the Raagas beach and Maandig beach, Villagracia, El Dorado and Jesper beach.

"Naay time nga nag clean-up drive dire sa Bonbon kadtung mga national government nagkuha silag sample sa stagnant water dapit sa Zone 1. Kabalo kita mao jud na ang tugpahanan sa tanang basura from Cagayan river and then daghan baboy didto nga area. Na-generalize na hinoon ang tibook Bonbon," said Sambaan, whose house is just a stone's throw away from the shoreline.

While some residents in the seaside area of Bonbon got angry upon hearing the news that Bonbon sea is now infested with bacteria, others have openly welcomed the negative remarks.

"Dili na kita manghilabot sa ubang dapit. Kining ato lang sa Bonbon problema kay ang Zone 4 nga area sa dagat lang daan gahimoon na'g kasilyas. Ma kadlawon diha ipangyabo ang hugaw dili na `ta ganahan maligo," Boy Dabodabo said.

"Kakulangon sa public toilet ang gikinahanglan sa Zone 4," observed another fish vendor, Kiking Paasa.

For Wiwing Medina, who just transferred his family from near the Bonbon coast, said an ordinance that must be strictly implemented is all the barangay needs to ease the mess along the seashores.

"Daghan sab binuhi nga baboy sa palibot ug mga iro gakalibang sa daplin. So, kon mag high tide sagol hugaw sa tao ug hayop mapaingon sa atong dagat. Maghimo gyo'g ordinance nga well-implemented," Medina said.

El Dorado beach caretaker Hector "Bobong" Baal shared that since the news broke out about the presence of coliform, El Dorado’s business has not been adversely affected.

"Wala may na change daghan gihapon ga-anhi sa amo. Kabalo man ang mga tao na malubog gyod ang dagat ilabi na kon kusog ang ulan. Ang mga water lily dili man na sa Bonbon gibanlas lang gikan sa suba. As far as El Dorado is concerned, it's business as usual," Baal said.

Nery earlier said there are still no reported cases or persons hospitalized after swimming in Bonbon.

She clarified that the presence of coliform in the water cannot necessarily cause a serious illness or disease. Only a large group of coliform can cause this and may cause a certain body of water to be contaminated.

City Local Environment and Natural Resources Office assistant chief Elvisa Mabelin said the city government already created a local Water Quality Management Area composed of the different government agencies, in a bid to address the problem and conserve the city’s water bodies.


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