In tunneling projects across the world, it has been done for a long time to put a statue of Sta. Barbara at the entrance for protection of the tunnellers and miners. MWSS has been doing this since 1996, when the Italian Contractor of the Umiray-Angat Transbasin Project (UATP) brought a statue of Sta. Barbara to reassure workers that they would be safe while digging the tunnel through the Sierra Madre Mountains. The image was then transferred in 2016 to the tunnel outlet of the Angat Water Transmission Improvement Project or Tunnel 4 which was completed in 2020.
For the Kaliwa Dam Project, the statue was placed near the launch shaft of the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM)-Sampaguita in Teresa, Rizal. It will be placed in a better location after the TBM Sampaguita is transported and re-assembled at the outlet portal. Tunneling will traverse the provinces of Rizal and Quezon some 200 to 500 meters below the Sierra Madre mountains.
Even the non-Catholics and the Chinese Contractors were pleased with the objectives of the Sta. Barbara blessing ceremony, which took place on 1 June 2022. MWSS Administrator Leonor Cleofas, remarked, “I am proud that during any of the MWSS’ tunneling projects, no workdays have been lost due to work-related accidents. But we keep vigilant every moment of every day in ensuring the safety aspects of our projects. We take full responsibility for our work and extend our concern not only to our project team, consultants, and contractors, but also to the larger community living and working in close proximity. Every precaution is taken to ensure the safe return of all project workers to their families.”