By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
As the public takes extra care of their hygiene by washing hands to avoid being infected with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), President Duterte has ordered all national government offices to strictly implement water conservation measures.
In his Administrative Order No. 24, President Duterte stressed the need to conserve water because of the projection of the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) that the water level in Angat Dam will be below its minimum operating level of 180 meters from the months of April to May 2020.
“There is an urgent need to implement water conservation measures to avert a looming water crisis and in order to attain at least a twenty-percent reduction in water consumption, especially within the areas served by the Angat Dam, including Metro Manila and parts of Cavite, Rizal, and Bulacan provinces,” he said.
Based on the order signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, all national government agencies, government-owned or -controlled corporations, and state universities and colleges, especially those located within areas served by Angat Dam, are directed to urgently implement water conservation measures in coordination with the El Niño Task Force and the NWRB.
The El Niño Task Force, meanwhile, is tasked to undertake massive information campaign and advocacy programs on water conservation in traditional and social media platforms, schools, subdivisions, and government offices.
All local government units (LGUs), in accordance with the Local Government Code of 1991, shall issue advisories and enact ordinances that will protect the water supply within their jurisdictions, especially those within the areas served by Angat Dam.
“The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) shall monitor compliance of concerned LGUs with this directive,” the order read.
“Failure to comply with this Order shall result in the filing of appropriate administrative cases pursuant to the Civil Service Commission Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, RA (Republic Act) No. 7160, and other relevant laws, rules, and regulations.”
In a press briefing in Malacañang, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles expressed his confidence that the public will be able to find a way to conserve water without compromising the need to wash their hands properly.
The Department of Health (DOH) has repeatedly advised the public to practice proper handwashing as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country continues to rise.