Creation of a Department of Water urged
CEBU CITY, Philippines—The Philippines should have a Department of Water to handle water resource management, instead of having several government agency having different functions related to water.
Antonio Tompar, president and chief executive officer of Mactan Rock Industries Inc., said that to date several agencies are involved in the country’s water resource management.
The Local Water Utilities Administration (LUWA) oversees the development of water supply systems in areas outside Metro Manila while the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) regulates all water-related activities that has impact on the environment and the economy.
The Bureau of Soil and Water Management (BSWM) promotes prudent soil and water management for sustainable agriculture. On the other hand, the Environment Management Bureau (EMB) and the Department of Health (DOH) ensures water sanitation.
Two other agencies, the National Power Corporation (NPC) and the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) are in charge of watershed management.
Since water is an important resource and vital to one’s survival, Tompar said that there should be a single agency to address various concerns on water.
A road map on the state of water and sanitation sector in the Philippines found that the fragmented water governance and uncoordinated implementation of programs and projects are among the issues that need to be addressed.
It also proposed the creation of a department-level body for the water resources sector to take the lead in water resources policy formulation and planning, resource regulation, as well as overall coordination with the implementing agencies.
Last year, LWUA acting administrator Jeci Lapuz had sought the creation of a water department.
On the other hand, Tompar also called for more government funding for the development of water supply systems, adding that very little funding has been set aside for this.
The same road map also called for a unified financing framework for consolidating and rationally allocating available financial resources to the water service providers through subsidies and loans, among others./dcb
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