News Release

PBBM calls for reorganization for effective response to water-related challenges

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. wants a reorganization of various water agencies for efficient and effective response to water-related challenges and to serve the 40 million Filipinos who do not have access to potable water.

“That’s really the main solution to that is that we have a national plan because water is a national issue. And it has to be handled on a national scale. It cannot be done by – so, that I think remains to be a priority that we are able to reorganize the functions,” President Marcos said during a sectoral meeting on investment opportunities in Malacañang on Tuesday.

“We do the reorganization, we carry on with the hearings and put forward of our proposals in terms of our what need would like, first, if we would want the authority then we can do that immediately, but we, it’s necessary for us to have an overall plan. And, these water authorities, whatever they are, maraming overlap,” the President said.

The President underscored the need for the government to focus on the 40 million underserved Filipinos and to balance the water requirements for irrigation, household and industrial use.

“Forty million is too large a number to live with so, we let’s do what we can in terms of reorganizing the authority, to establish an authority let us look at – if we spend our time trying to rationalize all of these, that’s all we’re doing,” he said.

This developed as Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Manuel Bonoan said in a Palace press briefing that he was instructed by the President to integrate the agency’s flood control management programs with the other sectors to conserve water for irrigation, and household and power generation use.

Despite its resources, the Philippines is considered water-stressed, with an annual average per capita water availability of 1,400 cubic meters (m3), which is lower than the normal threshold of 1,700 m3 per capita every year.

The country needs an annual investment of PhP119 billion (2020-2030) to attain universal access to safe water supply and sanitation services by 2030.

Currently, it has only about PhP6 billion average annual public investment on water infrastructure over the last five years, according to recent data. PND