Government ensures clean drinking water for all

Published by rudy Date posted on May 16, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – Government agencies have joined hands to ensure accessible clean drinking water for all.

Several people have died in Palawan following a cholera outbreak traced to contaminated drinking water.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo called on mayors to help the national government implement the “Sagana at Ligtas na Tubig sa Lahat” under President Aquino’s water and sanitation program, particularly in waterless municipalities.

The DILG, the Department of Health (DOH) and the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) jointly signed the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the sufficient water supply program.

Health Secretary Enrique Ona, NAPC Secretary-General Jose Eliseo Rocamora and DILG Undersecretary for Local Government Austere Panadero signed the IRR.

The 2011 General Appropriations Act has appropriated P1.5 billion for the DOH for potable water.

Robredo said the program aims to increase the water service coverage to 155 priority “waterless” municipalities. “Waterless municipalities” are defined as municipalities with less than 50 percent service coverage.

Last year, the DILG, DOH and NAPC signed a Memorandum of Agreement for the implementation of the President’s Water and Sanitation program.

The 115 priority municipalities include seven in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR); three in Ilocos region, nine in Cagayan Valley, 12 in MIMAROPA; 10 in Bicol, and 16 in Western Mindanao.

The three criteria in selecting priority barangays are poverty incidence, access rate to water service coverage, and incidence of water-borne diseases.

The program promotes shared responsibility between the national government and local government units in providing water supply systems to waterless areas by awarding national government grants and requiring local government counterpart funding.

Robredo said the program will also provide capacity development to the municipalities and water service providers in the implementation and management of their water supply and sanitation services.

Under the implementation arrangement, the NAPC shall serve as the overall lead coordinating agency in the implementation of the program, shall identify the list of waterless and shall ensure that priority be given to barangays in municipalities considered the neediest among the needy.

The DOH shall review, evaluate and approve proposed plans and program of works submitted by the LGUs and facilitate the release of funds to LGUs through the Centers for Health Development.

At the same time, the DOH shall monitor the fund utilization of LGUs and shall provide the funding requirements of NAPC and DILG corresponding to the agreed responsibilities and tasks under this joint program for purposes of monitoring. –Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star)

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