Press Release
March 10, 2019


The Right to Water and Sanitation has been recognized by the United Nations. Unfortunately in this country, the right has yet to be fully enjoyed by our people. In facing the looming water crisis, the government should be more proactive in addressing the problem by adopting a radical approach in tackling existing problems or shortcomings in the water supply system.

We are an agricultural country and that says a lot regarding the importance of water supply. We have provinces that have year-round sufficient water supply, enabling their farmers to plant and harvest year-round as well. Some provinces lack such water supply making huge tracts of agricultural lands idle during lean months.

Water supply and distribution are on top of the short list of natural monopolies and it could be readily seen as the gauge of good governance or management. This is literally the lifeblood of an agricultural country like the Philippines. Kailangang pagtuunan ng pansin at karampatang paggasta ito sapagkat ito ang bubuhay sa mga pananim ng mga magsasaka at magpapayabong ng industriya at kabuhayan nila. Ito ang sisigurong mayroon tayong karampatang food supply hindi lamang sa iilang lugar kundi dapat ay sa buong bansa.

We should look into better technologies and infrastructure to harness all our natural water supplies. Para saan pa na tayo ay isang archipelago na napapalibutan ng iba't ibang katawan ng tubig. We also need to capitalize on the fact that lots of typhoons that bring heavy rains frequently visit the country. We can hit two birds with one stone--prevent flooding and somehow re-direct rainwater to arable agricultural lands or to treatment facilities, turning said water into home-friendly public utility for all our households. There should really be a meaningful discourse, planning and funding towards these types of projects to improve our water systems.

One issue is that the regulatory framework for water has many overlaps, and economic regulations are provided under a number of different arrangements thereby resulting in an unstable and fragmented regulatory framework. This fragmentation has had significant implications in the effective and adequate delivery of water and sanitation services in the country. Because there is no lead agency in the water resource sector, the different coordination systems, functions and jurisdictions of the various agencies have made it impossibly hard for water and sanitation to be collectively managed. Thus, the establishment of a unified agency that would focus on water, sewerage and sanitation is certainly very important.

This is why I filed a bill that seeks to create the Water Regulatory Commission and rationalize the economic as well as administrative regulation of water utilities through an independent, quasi-judicial body. Among its functions are to set the policy for water supply, sewerage and septage management; issue and licenses; set, review and approve rates; and other vital functions.

We need to find a sustainable way to use this precious resource.

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