Senator Grace Poe warned the water shortage being felt in a number of provinces could happen anew if the management of water resources is not addressed.

“Tagtuyot ngayon, baha naman sigurado sa susunod na buwan. Tila ito na ang reyalidad para sa ating mga kababayan taon-taon na lang,” Poe said as she presides over the hearing of the Senate committee on public services on her Senate Bill No. 102.

The measure seeks the creation of a Department of Water that will lead and consolidate whole-of-society efforts for the comprehensive and integrated development and management of water resources in the country.

“The problem is not that we don’t have resources but that we do not effectively manage our resources.”

“The root of our water crisis is actually a crisis in regulation. The problem is not that we don’t have resources but that we do not effectively manage our resources,” the veteran legislator added.

The seasoned lawmaker asked, “Kailan tayo huling nagpatayo ng dam?” adding that Angat Dam in Bulacan was built in 1968 when the population was small and water demand was still low.

“Pinanganak ako, 1968. Kung ako medyo sumasakit-sakit na ‘yung mga buto-buto ko eh ‘yun pa kayang dam na ‘yan. But what I am saying is, ano ‘yung population natin noong 1968 at ano na ngayon? Doble. Magtataka ba tayo na kinukulang tayo ng tubig,” the lady senator stressed.

To date, she said at least 131 cities and municipalities from Ilocos Norte to Cotabato have suffered immense water shortage and declared a state of calamity.

The National Economic Development Authority estimates that out of 1,486 municipalities, approximately 332 that are mostly in urban poor spaces or in the poorest provinces, are considered waterless.

She lamented that taps of households and businesses are dry during the El Nino season despite the presence of abundant water resources all over the archipelago.

Based on data, the Philippines has 421 river basins; 59 natural lakes; 100,000 hectares of freshwater swamps; 50,000 square kilometers of groundwater reservoir; and 2,400 millimeters of average rainfall throughout the year.

“Our problem is the system.”

“Sa isang archipelago na napapalibutan ng tubig, nakakabahala na may mga lugar pa rin na walang malinis na tubig, at nakakahiya dahil ang mga bansang disyerto, parang mas wala pang water interruption kaysa sa atin. Our problem is the system,” Poe said.

She said several government bodies are tasked to take charge of water supply and irrigation, but not all have specializations on water management and regulation.

“With over 30 departments and line agencies handling water-related functions, coordination on vital programs and data collection has been very limited, if not nonexistent,” Poe added.

Her bill, one of the administration’s priority measures, aims to put in place robust policies that will help address the country’s water woes.

“We will endeavor to pass this definitely by this Congress because we have to, this is crucial,” Poe concluded.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *