By Hannah Torregoza
Reelectionist Senator Paolo “Bam” Aquino IV on Monday urged the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to assist micro-businesses which are affected by the ongoing water shortage.
Aquino said the water crisis may severely affect the operations of these micro-businesses and eventually cripple their livelihood.
“Kadugtong ng krisis sa tubig ang kabuhayan ng mga kakababayan natin. Bawas kita ang dulot nitong krisis sa tubig sa mga kababayan natin lalo na mahihirap, (this water crisis is linked to the livelihood of our citizens. It would mean lesser income for them especially our poorest citizens),” said Aquino.
Aquino, who is running under the “Otso Diretso” opposition slate, pointed out that in Metro Manila, there are around 150,000 registered micro-businesses—aside from those belonging to the so-called informal economy—that need immediate help due to the water shortage.
“Kailangan ng kagyat na solusyon para hindi mawalan ng kabuhayan ang maraming kababayan natin, (We need immediate solutions so that our citizens won’t lose their livelihood),” the senator said.
Aquino said the DTI, together with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), should tap “Negosyo Centers” and microfinance institutions in Metro Manila to give micro-businesses access to micro-loans and micro-insurance to help them survive the effect of the water shortage.
During his tenure as chairman of the Senate committee on trade, the senator pushed for the passage of several laws aimed at helping micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), including the Go Negosyo Act and the Microfinance NGO Act.
Aquino said those responsible for the water shortage must be punished.
He also called on concerned stakeholders to work together to bring immediate relief to consumers.
“Mahalagang panagutin ang mga responsable sa krisis na ito pero mas kailangan magtulungan muna para mabigyan ng agarang ginhawa ang taumbayan, (it’s very important that we hold them accountable for this crisis but it’s very important that we help each other first to provide our people with immediate relief),” he said.
The senator pointed out that short and long-term solutions are necessary to avoid a repeat of the water shortage problem, including the creation of a water agency, and the appointment of a water czar who will focus on water resource management.
The lawmaker also said the Metro Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) must continue its cooperation with Manila Water and Maynilad to speed up water sharing through cross-border sharing.
Aquino also said plans for the activation of alternative water sources should be crafted immediately to enable affected household and local government agencies to prepare.