Private sector groups ask gov’t to act on El Niño

Published March 2, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Madelaine B. Miraflor

The Movement for Water Security (MWS), which is composed of several private organizations, has identified several measures the government may adopt to address the imminent El Niño.

MWS said that with El Niño imminent and with only 4 percent of water harvesting in the Philippines, the government should implement the required water harvesting levels stated in the Building Code.

Sonny Sioson, chair of the Central Luzon Rice Farmer Cooperatives, said the Philippines has only 4 percent rain harvesting, while countries like India have 60 percent in certain areas.

Rain harvesting is in the Green Building Code, but is hardly implemented. Now, Sioson is suggesting that the government must exercise political will in implementing rain harvesting, while the private sector should do the same.

This should be done during the current El Niño period, before the rains come and rainwater be wasted once more.

MWS is also calling for National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to sponsor an Executive Order for President Rodrigo Duterte to sign requiring 30 government water-related agencies to properly coordinated for effective water governance.

“This is to organize a structure where more than 30 government water- related agencies will finally be properly coordinated for effective water governance. Lack of good governance was cited as the main cause of a water crisis [cited] according to the Asian Development Bank’s 2013 and 2016 water studies,” MWS said.

Right now, the Philippines ranks in the bottom third of 48 Asia Pacific countries in terms of environment, economy, household, urban, and resilience.

MWS consists of leaders from different organizations representing various sectors that are converging to attain the goal of water security. The group includes representatives from Alyansa Agrikultura, Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food, Federation of Philippine Industries, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Philippine Food Processors and Exporters Organization, Inc., among others.