20 March 2013

2nd Water Summit slated in Subic Bay Freeport

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) will host a multi-sectoral conference in a bid to formulate a “doable” action plan for the conservation and protection of Subic Bay and all the marine resources therein.

SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia said that the 2nd Subic Water Summit aims to translate the Declaration of Commitment agreed upon by participating agencies and local government units during the 1st Water Summit held January 2010 into a viable three-year program.

This year’s Water Summit will be held on March 21-22 at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center (SBECC), with related activities scheduled at Ayala Mall’s Harbor Point here.

Garcia said that the summit, which carries the theme “Isabuhay Natin ang Pangangalaga sa Ating Yamang-Tubig,” will engage the broadest participation of all sectors. These include local government units, Subic Bay Freeport stakeholders, national and regional government-line agencies, civic groups, people’s organizations, and other concerned sectors.

During the summit, prominent speakers in the field of water conservation will present issues and concerns surrounding the quality of water in Subic Bay and other water resources in the free port.

The event will also serve as a venue for the creation of the preparatory body Subic Bay Water Quality Management, which shall be composed of representatives from various sectors.

“Through workshops and discussions, we aim to formulate a three-year action plan which will define our steps in saving Subic Bay and all of our other water resources. It will be based entirely on the Declaration of Commitment that was made during the 2010 Water Summit,” Garcia said.

Among the signatories of the 2010 declaration were former SBMA chairman Feliciano Salonga, former SBMA administrator Armand Arreza, Bataan Gov. Enrique Garcia, former Zambales governor Amor Deloso, Olongapo City Mayor James Gordon Jr., former Subic mayor Jeffrey Khonghun, Pastolan Aeta tribal chieftain Conrado Frenilla, former Morong (Bataan) mayor Cynthia Estanislao, and other officials from government and non-government offices.

This year, one important part of the summit will be the dropping of life-giving “Mabuhay (Bokashi) Balls” into the now polluted Kalalake River in Olongapo City to help revive it. The river separates the Subic Bay Freeport from its neighbor city.

The technology for the so-called “Bokashi Balls” was developed in Japan and uses a mixture of clay, ceramic powder, brown sugar or molasses and rock salt, which are then infused with micro-organisms and formed into large balls and left to ferment for several weeks until coated with fuzzy white fungus.

The balls will then be dropped into polluted bodies of water so that micro-organisms can eat the harmful bacteria and will become food for fishes and shells.

Other activities lined up for the 2nd Subic Water Summit include a photo contest and exhibition portraying the importance of water conservation (March 21); painting contest and exhibition (March 23); Earth Hour (March 23); and “Artists for Clean Water,” a portrayal of songs and dances (March 30), all to be held at the Harbor Point here.

“There must something we should do to rehabilitate Subic Bay and all other water resource not because we need clean water today, but to secure, preserve and conserve the healthy bio-diversity of all of our water resource for the use of our future generations,” Garcia said. (RAV/MPD-SBMA)