PH lays out P1.07-T plan to provide clean water for all
The government’s new blueprint seeking to ensure steady supply of clean and safe water will entail a total investment of P1.07 trillion in the next 10 years and may be financed in part by the private sector and local governments.
The state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) was also pushing to establish a Department of Water Resources and a Water Regulatory Commission under the Philippine Water Supply and Sanitation Master Plan unveiled on Thursday.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and Neda chief Karl Kendrick Chua noted in a speech during the master plan’s launch that at present, only 44 percent of households in the country were connected to a proper, fully reticulated waterworks system.
Majority, or about 57 million Filipinos, still had to fetch water from communal pipes, springs or wells located far from their homes. This was a big problem in the fight against COVID-19, Chua said.
The Philippines also faced a sanitation problem, he said, citing that about 4 million Filipinos were still practicing open defecation, exposing them to various diseases.
He said the master plan would put into place a unifying framework to implement better water supply and sanitation services.
Neda Assistant Secretary Roderick Planta said implementing this master plan would cost over P100 billion a year. The plan indicated that most of the financing would be covered by public funds from the annual budget as well as from government borrowings, but the Neda said “increased collaboration with the private sector is considered to leverage loans from both government financing institutions and private financial institutions.”
Planta said the plan would be implemented using a mix of resources coming from the national government, public-private partnerships and subnational or local governments.
Director Rolyn Zambales of the Department of the Interior and Local Government said water would be among the services to be devolved to local government units (LGU) next year. Zambales said water supply was expected to remain a priority sector to be funded by LGUs with help from the P10-billion growth equity fund in the proposed P5.02-trillion 2022 national budget.
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