Press Release
July 22, 2010

Pia: Water shortage is first 'gut issue' that P-Noy must confront head on

Senator Pia S. Cayetano today urged the Aquino administration to seriously consider proposals to centralize and coordinate efforts of various government agencies to map out long-term solutions to address the recurring water shortage in Metro Manila and the provinces--possibly with President Benigno Aquino III himself at the helm as the country's 'water czar.'

"The current water crisis is emerging as the first major gut issue that the three-week-old Aquino administration must not downplay, but instead confront head on," Cayetano said.

"President Aquino should also seriously consider the proposal to assume the title of 'water czar.' This will allow him to take a more direct role in coordinating the plans of actions of different agencies involved in water concerns to solve the current water woes in Metro Manila and provinces worst hit by the extended drought."

"As water czar, the President can also directly oversee the country's medium- and long-term plans to ensure sufficient water supply to meet the needs of our growing population, as well as the sustainable management of our critical watersheds in the midst of climate change."

The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) had earlier blamed the water shortage in the metropolis the on National Power Corporation (NPC) for releasing excessive amount of water from Angat Dam last year. But the NPC disputed the MWSS' claim, saying that that the release of water was done in compliance with new dam protocols.

"It's discouraging to see different government agencies pointing accusing fingers and pushing for seemingly disjoint solutions at a time when there should be convergence of efforts to address the current water crisis which is actually a recurring problem."

In her stint as Chairperson of the Senate Environment Committee in the 13th and 14th Congress, Cayetano pushed for the passage of the Central Cebu Protected Landscape Act (now RA 9486) which sought to safeguard Cebu province's last remaining watershed. Cayetano also proposed the declaration of the La Mesa Watershed as a watershed reservation.

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