Press Release
November 3, 2006

No money for water projects
is super regions Waterloo - Recto

Billions of pesos for infrastructure projects but not a single centavo to produce a single drop of drinking water .

This was the assessment made by Sen. Ralph Recto on the P369.2 billion super regions project President Arroyo unveiled in her State of the Nations Address last July .

There is a drought of funds for water projects in that blueprint . Water, which is a basic need for human survival, should be high on the list. But the fact is, potable water supply projects simply evaporated from that list. No water is that plans Waterloo, Recto said.

Recto urged Malacanang to correct the oversight as the country already the second lowest in terms of per capita water availability in Southeast Asia faces a serious water crisis when the population hits 100 million in seven years and 153 million in 23 years.

By 2025, water demand in Metro Manila, Metro Cebu , Davao, Baguio, Angeles, Bacolod, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro and Davao would have tripled to 3,995 million metric cubic meters per year from the 1995 demand of 1,303 million cubic meters, far outstripping groundwater availability of 759 million cubic meters, Recto said, citing a Japanese government funded study.

At present, for lack of access to clean drinking, 500,000 Filipinos are downed yearly by diarrhea, cholera, typhoid and other water-borne diseases, which account for three in every 10 illnesses, Recto said.

This is not surprising as 58 percent of groundwater sampled is contaminated with coliform and needs treatment, which is aggravated by the fact that only seven percent of the countrys population is connected to sewer systems, Recto said, quoting a 2003 World Bank study.

That same study pegs at P3 billion a year the medical expenses, hospitalization costs and income losses caused by drinking dirty water, Recto added.

Actually , we dont need statistics to tell us that many people are having a hard time getting clean water. The plight of the residents of southern Metro Manila represents a clear example, Recto said.

He said the plan of the MWSS to build a P5.6 billion pumping station and storage to service Las Pinas , Muntinlupa, Paranaque which is included in the super regions wish list while a good one falls under the water distribution aspect and certainly not the tapping of a new water source for Metro Manila , which experts are one in saying we should be doing now because we should not be solely relying on Angat .

Recto was referring to the Bulacan dam which captures water runoff from the Sierra Madre and brings this through an underground tunnel to La Mesa Dam.

By project, the super regions plan earmarks P90.2 billion for roads, P51.8 billion for airports, P15.8 billion for seaports, P12.6 for irrigation, P5 billion for bridgesl, P180.1 billion for rail, and P13.5 billion for other projects which include IT activities and the MWSS pumping station in southern Metro Manila.

The government should funnel more funds to clean drinking water supply. If it has been said that the next war will be fought over water, the next people power here will be about water too, he said.

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