Aquino files measure seeking establishment of a Department of Water

Published March 19, 2019, 4:27 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Hannah Torregoza 

Even though Malacañang has already rejected a proposal seeking the creation of a Department of Water, reelectionist Senator Paolo “Bam” Aquino IV filed a bill calling for the creation of such an agency to help avoid a repeat of the water shortage now burdening thousands of Metro Manila residents.

Senator Paolo “Bam” Aquino IV (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)
Senator Paolo “Bam” Aquino IV

Aquino earlier filed Senate Bill No. 2216 which seeks the establishment of the Department of Water which he said would greatly help prevent a repeat of the water crisis plaguing the country today.

“Bilang isa sa pinakamahalagang pangangailangan ng taumbayan, importanteng hindi na maulit pa ang nangyaring water shortage na naging kalbaryo ng maraming residente ng Metro Manila (As one of the most important needs of the people, it is very important that this water shortage happening would not happen again as this has made Metro Manila residents suffered),” Aquino said in a statement.

Aquino, a senatorial candidate running under the “Otso Diretso” opposition coalition, noted that the recent water shortage underscored the immediate need to create the Department of Water, Irrigation, Sewage and Sanitation Resource Management.

The senator said the creation of such agency could be one of the long-term solutions the government can undertake to address problems on water conservation and management.

“Ang pagbuo ng Department of Water ay isang long-term solution upang hindi na maulit na ang ganitong problema at hindi na maranasan pa ang water shortage, hindi lang sa kamaynilaan kundi sa iba’t ibang bahagi rin ng bansa, (the establishment of a Department of Water is one long-term solution so there would be no repeat of this kind of water shortage, and not only here in Metro Manila, but in other parts of the country as well),” the senator added.

According to Aquino, the proposed agency will rationalize water, irrigation, sewage, and sanitation resource management, including water rights.

Because currently, several agencies are responsible for water, irrigation, sewage, and sanitation management, including the National Water Resources Board (NWRB), Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, National Irrigation Administration, local water districts (LWDs) and rural waterworks and sanitation associations (RWSAs), he pointed out.

“With regulation and management of our water resources currently lodged with various units and agencies of the government, we are faced with challenges in terms of implementing national policies and plans on water, sewage, sanitation, and irrigation,” Aquino said.

The lawmaker also said the Department will strengthen and coordinate water resource planning and policy-making to ensure sustainable and fair allocation and efficient use of water resources between competing water uses and users.

This would include, but not limited to, domestic and municipal use, irrigation, power generation, farming, fisheries, commercial, and industrial use, Aquino stressed. [Hannah L. Torregoza]