Marcos eyes gov't reorganization to solve water crisis

Citing their overlapping functions, President Marcos said he wants a reorganization of the government’s various water agencies to address the water crisis and serve some 40 million Filipinos who do not have access to formal water resources.

During a sectoral briefing on Tuesday, May 7, the Chief Executive was informed of the number of Filipinos to whom potable water remains inaccessible.

“Forty million is too large a number to live with so, we let’s do what we can in terms of reorganizing the authority, to establish an authority let us look at – if we spend our time trying to rationalize all of these, that’s all we’re doing,” he said.

Marcos said that having a “national plan” is the “main solution” to the water crisis because “water is a national issue” that has to be handled in a “national scale.”

“We do the reorganization, we carry on with the hearings and put forward of our proposals in terms of our what need would like, first, if we would want the authority then we can do that immediately, but we, it’s necessary for us to have an overall plan. And, these water authorities, whatever they are, maraming overlap (there are a lot of overlaps),” the President stressed.

In the same meeting, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Manuel Bonoan was instructed by Marcos to integrate flood control projects with water conservation efforts to provide water for irrigation, household use, and even power generation.

According to the Presidential Communications Office (PCO), the Philippines is considered water-stressed despite its abundant natural resources.

It has an annual average per capita water availability of 1,400 cubic meters (m3), which is lower than the normal threshold of 1,700 m3 per capita every year.

To attain universal access to safe water supply and sanitation services by 2030, the Philippines needs an annual investment of P119 billion from 2020 to 2030.

Recent data, however, showed that the country spent P6 billion in average annual public investment on water infrastructure in the last five years.