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Makati Business Club backs Marcos’s push for creation of Water Resources Management Office

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The Makati Business Club (MBC) has thrown its support behind President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s decision to issue a new executive order (EO) for the creation of the proposed Water Resources Management Office (WRMO) to boost water supply across the country.

“We believe the WRMO will help address urgent issues, even as we encourage Congress to pass a law creating an even more effective Department of Water,” MBC said in a statement issued on Tuesday. The MBC  also noted there are as many as 30 agencies with water-related mandates, which, it said,  are slowing down upgrades and expansion.

Citing the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) and the Philippine Water Supply and Sanitation Masterplan (PWSSMP), MBC said 45.2 percent of the population relies on point sources (e.g., springs, rivers, streams, wells, peddlers, and other sources) that are susceptible to contamination.

Of the 54.8 percent who had access to safe water supply, only 15 percent to a piped distribution network, and 11.2 percent relied on communal faucet systems, MBC noted.

Further, according to MBC, Neda said to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6—clean water and sanitation for all—by 2030, yearly investments of P132 billion are needed. However, MBC said the current rate is in the “single digits.”

The business group stressed, “Most water service providers are unable to deliver adequate services to a growing population due to financial, technical, efficiency, and coverage issues.”

Further, MBC said the situation is expected to reach “critical levels” by 2040 if the sector remains “stagnant.”

“The 1995 Water Crisis Act helped address the situation at that time, including the awarding of Metro Manila concession agreements to private sector players in 1997, leading to vastly improved and expanded services in the capital,” MBC said.

With this, MBC said, “We are confident that a WRMO and a Department of Water can do the same for the current crisis.”

Likewise, the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) said in a statement last week it welcomes the creation of the WRMO as a transitory body pending the creation of a Water Resource Department.

The foreign business group said the creation of the WRMO is a “welcomed first step in fully realizing this as it aims to strengthen collaboration among various agencies in implementing water management programs in accordance with the Integrated Water Management Plan.”

ECCP underscored the need to approach water resource planning using Integrated Water Resource Management (IWFM), which it described as an “internationally recognized” framework that is used to guide countries in their journey to water security.

This is based on the idea that water issues should not be approached in “isolation,” but rather in a “more holistic” manner due to the interdependence of the uses of finite water resources, the business chamber explained.

Three weeks ago, the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) said President Marcos ordered the formation of the WRMO during a multi-sectoral meeting in Malacañang to consolidate water management efforts of all concerned government offices.

PCO said the core task of WRMO would be to formulate and ensure the implementation of the Integrated Water Management Plan of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, Local Water Utilities Administration, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

An EO will be drafted to enforce the said “collaborative mechanism under the WRMO.” 

Image credits: Junpinzon | Dreamstime.com

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