In December 2013 the following message was received to start on a great Rotary journey:
“Congratulations! Your global grant application for funding to provide Looc Clean Water and Sanitation Renewable Energy Distribution System for barangays of Kanluran, Guitna and Bonbon in Philippines, submitted by RC Melbourne and RC Lubang Island, has been approved by The Rotary Foundation. The award is in the amount of US$97,000.”
For many decades, the people of Looc township on Lubang Island had intermittent and unclean water available from various springs and a few corroded taps. There were often long journeys for collection of the water from the springs and wells. Through the stewardship of District 9800 Philippines Water Projects Coordinator, Ruth Carlos Martinez, the Clubs of Melbourne and Lubang Island agreed to partner to create a sustainable and distributed potable water supply for the 3500 residents. The Clubs of Brighton Beach, Carlton and Osaka also contributed financial and project support.
Practical completion of the Looc Clean Water and Distribution project was achieved on Saturday 19 November 2016 on Lubang Island in the South China Sea. RC Melbourne members Peter Addison and Trevor Nink travelled to Looc (via plane to Manila, drive to Calatagan port and ferry to Looc) to participate with the local Rotary Club of Lubang Island in the closing out ceremony.
The community were presented with the new 20 litre blue containers to collect potable water for their families from the 40 new tapstands that were also colour coded in blue. The two designated water sources are using solar arrays to pump the raw water to holding tanks which feed by gravity to the bio sand water filter station at the school and then to the tapstands outside clusters of homes for the 3,500 residents.
A People’s Organisation has been established to monitor the use of the water, collection of monthly fees, operation and maintenance of the system, training on improved sanitation and separation of the potable water from the other sources. It is also responsible for the regular testing of the water quality with accredited laboratories. Members of RC Lubang Island will maintain formal meetings with the PO to ensure correct governance.
The expectation is that the mortality and morbidity statistics for the children of Looc will be vastly improved. An additional benefit has been achieved to have ready availability of ‘domestic’ water for household cleaning and growing family vegetables.
The Looc project reflects the importance of The Rotary Foundation which contributed USD 41,000 of the total Rotary contribution of USD 97,000. Dis-tricts 9800, 3810 and 2660 contributed DDF funds of USD 26,000 and the four Clubs USD 30,000.
Final completion occurred on 24 August 2017 when Rotary International approved the closing of the project and acknowledged that governance, finances and other obligations had been performed satisfactorily.
There will be a better life for future generations in Looc!