MANILA, MARCH 22, 2012—The Philippine government – together with the World Bank, the United Nations through the Millennium Development Goal Achievement Fund (MDG-F) and other development partners – launched today a ‘local water governance toolbox’ developed to guide water service providers in designing and managing waterworks systems to meet the people’s growing needs for safe drinking water and sanitation.
Otherwise known as “Tubig Yaman,” this new set of manuals and knowledge products on water and sanitation was unveiled today at the ‘Water Knowledge Fair’ held at the Edsa Shangri-la Hotel in celebration of World Water Day.
“This toolbox presented today will help LGUs plan better and ensure that the proper standards are met whenever they put up water systems for local communities,” said Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse Robredo in his keynote speech.
In the past, LGUs and water service providers relied on fragmented sets of guidelines leading to some operational difficulties and sustainability issues due to flaws in design assumptions, deficiencies in construction, and poor knowledge on operation and maintenance, Secretary Robredo said.
National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) Secretary Joel Rocamora who accepted the toolbox on behalf of the Philippine government as overall lead for the Sagana at Ligtas na Tubig sa Lahat (SALINTUBIG) program underscored the importance of speeding up the country’s efforts in providing safe water and sanitation to all Filipinos.
“Having access to safe and clean water, as well as proper wastewater treatment prevent the proliferation of water-borne diseases, giving our countrymen more time, freedom and opportunity to carve their pathway out of poverty,” said Secretary Rocamora.
Secretary Rocamora added that while the Philippines is on track to attain its commitment under the Millennium Development Goals, almost 16 million Filipinos are still unable to access safe drinking water.
SALINTUBIG – a tripartite program of the Department of Health, DILG and NAPC – aims to provide water systems for 455 waterless municipalities, barangays (villages), health centers and resettlement sites; and enhance the capacity of local government units and water service providers in the planning, implementation and operation of water supply facilities.
The Local Water Governance Toolbox was developed under the MDG-F program on Enhancing Access to and Provision of Water Services with the Active Participation of the Poor with funding from the Spanish Government through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
“The water governance toolbox we are launching today provides the tools that can help make the water and sanitation sector operate in a manner that is pro-poor, accountable, and inclusive,” said UNDP Country Director Renaud Meyer.
Part of the toolbox is the Rural Water Supply (RWS) manual developed to guide operators, managers, government planners and contractors in designing better waterworks systems in rural areas.
The RWS manual is among the key outputs of the Small Water Providers Work for the Poor Project supported by the World Bank through the Water Partnership Program, in collaboration with DILG. This project assists small-scale water providers in improving the efficiency, effectiveness, and sustainability of their operations as they expand their service coverage.
“Through this manual, we hope that stakeholders in the water supply sector will have a better understanding of the nature of the water supply business, its responsibilities to the stakeholders, and the role of the government agencies and regulatory bodies that seek to help them operate sustainably while protecting the consumers,” said World Bank Country Director Motoo Konishi.
The launch of the Local Water Governance Toolbox was followed by a knowledge sharing session carrying themes related to water sector management such as climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction, integrated flood management, human rights-based local water governance and sanitation and sewerage.
Resource persons from government, civil society, water service providers and other development partners were present to provide inputs during the discussions.
The Water Knowledge Fair is part of an ongoing nationwide initiative to come up with a national water resources master plan.
In October 2011, President Aquino issued Executive Order 62 mandating the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to lead an inter-agency committee to develop a water resources sector master plan that will effectively address issues and challenges in the water sector.
The committee comprising National Economic and Development Authority and other agencies is also tasked to recommend institutional reforms to ensure effective implementation of the master plan.