PALO,Leyte– The National Irrigation Administration Regional Office 8(NIA-8), in collaboration with other agencies, on Wednesday(Nov.29), broke ground for the construction of a water conservancy combined with schistosomias control(WCCSC) project at Barangay Anahaway, this town.

Funded by the Chinese government at an estimated cost of P5 million, the WCCSC project is designed to help provide potable water and control the further spread of schistosomiasis infection. It will be installed in barangays Teraza and Anahaway in the province of Leyte, a place with high prevalence of the disease compared with other provinces in the country.
NIA-8 Acting Regional Manager Jaime de Jesus thanked the distinguished guests and partner agencies for making the momentous event in Leyte province possible. (Photo: PIA Region VIII)

This project is a collaboration between NIA, University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, Department of Health Regional Office 8 (DOH-8), Changjiang River Scientific Research Institute, and the municipal government of Palo.

University of the Philippines Institute of Biology Assistant Professor Dr. Ian Kim Tabios, one of the proponents of the WCCSC project, said the Chinese collaborators will not only help the farmers prevent being infected with schistosomiasis, but will also address issues with farming.

The riverbank in Brgy. Anahaway, which will soon be transformed into an innovative irrigation canal for the WCCSC project. (Photo: PIA Region VIII).

“We hope that this will be a preliminary study that can be replicated in other parts of the Philippines. So, this is a good opportunity for us and here in Palo, Leyte, to be a model area for the development of the irrigation canals in the Philippines in relation to the control of schistosomiasis,” Tabios added.

Due to the long-standing concern over schistosomiasis in her area of jurisdiction, Palo Mayor Remedios Matin Petilla expressed gratitude to the Chinese government, NIA-8, and other partner government agencies involved with the upcoming construction of the WCCSC.
Petilla also assured that they have full support for the program and that the municipality of Palo will provide the necessary assistance to make the project a reality.

‘We are committed to all interests. We see to it that everything is put in place and that everything will go through as planned because we want the project, and we have been expecting this project,” Petilla said.

Dr. Antonio Ida, the DOH officer in Leyte Province, expressed appreciation for the project and looked forward to its positive impact. He emphasized the prevalence of the parasitic disease and urged the public to remain vigilant.

Leyte Provincial DOH Officer Dr. Antonio Ida is also grateful for the project and is hoping for positive benefits once it materializes, as cases of the said acute and chronic parasitic disease have not yet ceased to exist, and he wants the public to be more vigilant.

“We still have moderate cases here in Leyte. Ibig sabihin mayroon pa tayong nakikitang kaso ng schistosomiasis complications. Speaking of complications, yung affected yung liver, mayroong mga seizure, cerebral schistosomiasis, and there are also patients with bleeding. Yun po ang malala,” Dr. Ida said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Zhongwu Jin, the Director General of the Research Department of Changjiang River Scientific Research Institute of Changjiang Water Resources Commission, reiterated that they are dedicated to sharing their expertise and knowledge in combating schistosomiasis with the Filipinos using the tried and tested schistosomiasis prevention practices through the WCCSC project.

“Through this cooperative effort, we also anticipate deepening our mutual understanding, acting as a link and bridge to fortify the bonds between China and the Philippines. It is our sincere hope to strengthen the long-standing friendship between our two nations,” Jin said.