Philippines: Providing Sewerage and Sanitation Services to Over 3 Million People

April 8, 2013


A Bank-supported project helped reduce water pollution in Metro Manila's waterways and promote happier, healthier communities. Watch video.

World Bank

As of December 2012, an estimated 3.3 million residents in the eastern section of Metro Manila benefited from the Manila Third Sewerage Project (MTSP). The project delivered improved sewerage and sanitation services with more and better treatment plants, trucks for pumping out septage and safe disposal of treated septage. The project also helped reduce water pollution and improve public health through new and affordable sewerage management.


The Manila Third Sewerage Project (MTSP) helped to meet the water, sanitation and urbanization challenges identified in the government’s Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan of 2004-2010, in particular, the worsening water quality of Metro Manila resulting from rapid population growth, urbanization and industrialization. The project contributed to reducing the pollution of rivers and waterways caused by untreated domestic and industrial waste. This situation had made urban communities prone to diarrhea, cholera, skin diseases and other water-borne diseases. The project also supported the goals of the 2004 Clean Water Act and the 2008 Supreme Court decision to clean up Manila Bay. The project was also aligned with the Country Assistance Strategy of increasing access to safe drinking water and sanitation services.


The project used an integrated and innovative approach to address sewerage and sanitation issues that included the following:

• Introduced water treatment facilities within communities that sparked a revival of urban renewal activities, leading to the cleanup of riverbanks, the improvement in community facilities such as covered courts and parks as well as promotion of more social interactions. The Olandes Sewage Treatment Plant received the 2010 Project Innovation Honors Award from the International Water Association for excellence and innovation in its social, economic and sustainable design.

• Piloted the use of combined sewer and drainage systems in the Philippines.

• Applied a decentralized approach to the delivery of sewerage services that actively promoted community consultation and involvement.

• Built and expanded small treatment facilities in Metro Manila that were cost-effective and addressed the issue of land availability constraints.

• Expanded the practice of safe disposal of treated septage for use as fertilizer in areas affected by volcanic eruptions to improve soil condition and crop yield.


• The project delivered improved sewerage and sanitation services with more and better treatment plants, trucks for pumping out septage and safe disposal of treated septage from the start of the project in 2005 up to 2012 for an estimated 3.3 million residents in the eastern section of Metro Manila.

• The MTSP contributed to increased sewerage coverage from about 3 percent in 2003 to 30 percent in 2012 for the same target beneficiaries.

• Sewage Management: A total of 77,137 water connections with sewerage treatment was provided from 2005 to 2012 for the same beneficiary communities.

• Septage Management: An average increase of 50,000 septic tanks de-sludged per year from 2008 to 2012 for a total of 262,012 septic tanks as of 2012 in the Manila Water Company, Inc. (MWCI) service area.

• Increased Public Awareness:  A total of 3,723,934 individuals were reached by the project’s public information campaign from 2005 to 2012.

• Increased satisfaction of beneficiaries with sewerage and sanitation service delivery from 2006 to 2012, based on the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System Public Assessment of Water Services of over 300 barangays or villages in the eastern section of Metro Manila. In addition, there was widespread affirmation of health and environmental benefits to beneficiaries.

• In particular, the installation of water connections translated to better hygiene and made women and children more productive as they no longer had to spend time gathering water from outside their homes.

• Improved soil condition and crop yield from using treated septage as fertilizer in volcanic ash-affected areas, as indicated in MWCI studies.


" “People need to understand how septage treatment facilities such as the one in Poblacion (Makati) are serving the needs of communities around them and how it is gradually making a difference in the quality of Pasig River.” "

Rogelio Ferrer

Village Administrator of Olympia, Makati City



Bank Group Contribution

The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development has provided US$64.0 million in assistance for the project. A grant of US$5.0 million was also provided by the Global Environment Facility’s Pollution Reduction Investment Fund for Large Marine Ecosystems of East Asia in June 2007 to support the delivery of sewerage and sanitation services in Metro Manila through the MTSP. 


The MTSP is the third project between the World Bank and the Philippines in the sewerage and sanitation sector. Government, through the Department of Finance, National Economic Development Authority provided an enabling environment for the project to succeed by carrying out institutional, regulatory and pricing reforms. The Land Bank of the Philippines, as borrower, ensured that the MWCI, the service provider in the eastern section of Metro Manila, complied with and implemented the project agreements. The MWCI demonstrated commitment to achieving the project’s goals, placing emphasis on promoting beneficiary consultations and community involvement. The provider likewise adapted new technologies to evaluate the performance of its treatment plants.

Moving Forward

As a reliable service provider, the MWCI can be counted upon to continue and enhance the program, as environmental monitoring, planning and regular consultation with customers and residents have been institutionalized within the company. The World Bank Group has supported water and sanitation sector investments and reforms for over two decades and will continue to ensure that it can contribute to sustaining the benefits of the MTSP. A US$275 million loan has been recently approved for the Metro Manila Wastewater Management Project (MWMP). The new project expands support to the MWCI in the east zone and to the west zone serviced by Maynilad Water Services, Inc.



3.3 million
Residents in eastern Metro Manila have benefited from improved sewerage and sanitation services.