Press Release
July 26, 2022

Poe: Every Filipino should have access to safe, clean water

Sen. Grace Poe has refiled her bill seeking to guarantee clean and safe water for all Filipinos through effective and streamlined management that will protect the public's highest interest.

"Water shortage should not be a way of life. We expect reforms in water governance and infrastructure the way the Filipinos deserve this basic utility as an essential human right," Poe said.

Poe's Senate Bill 102 titled, "National Water Resource Management Act," seeks to establish a national framework for better water resources management.

It mandates the creation of the Department of Water Resources to lead and consolidate whole-of-society efforts for the comprehensive and integrated development and management of water resources in the country.

The senator explained that as the population in the country continues to grow, more water resources should be developed and harnessed to ensure a steady supply of clean and affordable water for all citizens.

Poe's proposed measure will also help rationalize economic and administrative regulation of water utilities through an independent, quasi-judicial agency called the Water Regulatory Commission.

"This is clearly about the law of supply and demand. All consumers must have access to safe and reliable water," Poe stressed.

The commission shall set the policy for water supply, sewerage and septage management; issue licenses; review and approve rates; assess and suspend contracts; initiate investigations on erring officials; and ensure that the welfare of consumers are prioritized.

All water supply and sanitation service providers, including bulk water suppliers and other public or private service providers, shall register with the commission, which shall ensure that the grant or revocation of licenses is carried out fairly and transparently.

It can be recalled that the National Economic and Development Authority reported last year that about 12.4 million people were limited to getting water from unsafe sources, and some areas did not have water service providers.

Under Poe's bill, regulatory units must set fair, reasonable tariffs and rates based on a scientific and evidence-based methodology. A 12-percent cap on return of investment must be adhered to by providers.

At the same time, the bill mandates incentives to encourage efficiency, expand services and reduce costs.

"Water is essential to our daily lives. It is fundamental to our survival and growth. We must manage this resource efficiently to ensure that our people's needs are sufficiently met," Poe added.

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