Press Release
December 26, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara said that deep structural reforms in the water sector are needed to improve the country's sanitation facilities and sewerage systems.

Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, noted that as of 2008, 24 percent of the population, or roughly 22 million Filipinos, did not have access to improved sanitation facilities, according to the joint monitoring program (JMP) between the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

"The longer these people are not unable to use proper toilet facilities and other waste disposal systems, the longer they get exposed to problems born out of poor sanitation. Our inaction in this regard comes at a very high cost," said Angara.

In its 2008 Economic Assessment of Sanitation Interventions (EASI), the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) of the World Bank estimated that the Philippines loses around US$1.4 billion per year, based on 2005 prices, as economic costs of poor sanitation and hygiene.

The veteran lawmaker added that over the past 30 years, the Philippine water and sanitation industry has been highly fragmented with over 30 government agencies involved.

Angara explained, "Currently, the setup is very inefficient with jurisdictions overlapping one another. A measure has to be passed to comprehensively restructure the way we manage our water and sanitation services."

Authored by Angara, Senate Bill 2997 or the Water Sector Reform Act (WSRA) of 2011 aims to put up a framework for efficiently managing the country's water resources by adopting the Integrated Water Resources Management approach of the Global Water Partnership (GWP).

The bill seeks to organize the country into Provincial Water Resource Zones (PWRZ's), with certain portions structured into River Basin Clusters (RBC's).

The measure also stipulates the creation of Local Water Supply and Sanitation Companies (LWSSC's) as government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCC's), mandated to construct, maintain and operate sanitation and sewerage systems for their corresponding PWRZs.

"We crafted the bill to also enable LWSSC's to go into PPP's (Public-Private Partnerships) for large-scale projects, such as installing sewerage systems," explained Angara. "By streamlining our processes and opening the industry up to private investment, we can give more Filipinos access to improved sanitation faster. That's why we need to urgently pass this measure."

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