Senator Grace Poe welcomed President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s call to action to establish a separate government body to efficiently manage the country’s water resources, saying this should bolster the passage of the proposed Department of Water Resources bill.
“No less than the chief executive has sounded the alarm over our precarious water supply situation, especially in the urban areas. This is a good impetus to get things moving to have a Department of Water Services,” said Poe, who authored Senate Bill No. 102 seeking to create a water department.
“We need to wake up to the looming water crisis before supply runs dry.”
“We need to wake up to the looming water crisis before supply runs dry,” the veteran legislator added.
The bill is among the 30 measures approved by the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council.
The seasoned lawmaker stressed that water use, management, and sources need urgent focus amid the supply shortage experienced by consumers.
Concessionaire Maynilad Water Services Inc. recently announced interruption for a week starting Oct. 17 in parts of its service areas in Metro Manila, Bulacan, and Cavite due to the quick drawdown of reservoirs and high demand.
The proposed National Water Resource Management Act that the lady senator has refiled seeks to establish a Department of Water Resources which would be the “primary policy, planning, coordinating, implementing, monitoring and administrative entity of the executive branch of the government.”
“The regulatory framework for water in the country has many overlaps, and economic regulations are provided under different setups, resulting in instability and fragmentation.”
She said the regulatory framework for water in the country has many overlaps, and economic regulations are provided under different setups, resulting in instability and fragmentation.
“Such fragmentation has had significant implications in the effective and adequate delivery of water and sanitation services in the country,” Poe said.
The bill also seeks to create an independent, quasi-judicial body to be called the Water Regulatory Commission that will set the policy for water supply, sewerage and septage management; issue licenses; set, review and approve rates; review and suspend contracts; initiate investigations on erring officials through its quasi-judicial nature; and ensure that the welfare of consumers is prioritized.
“Traditionally regarded as a free right, water is undervalued, wasted, and being depleted too fast. The situation calls for a thirsty solution that we hope our bill can offer,” said Poe, who vowed to fast track the passage of the measure.