Senate panel to probe water shortage in Metro Manila, provinces
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate committee on public services will conduct an inquiry on the “not normal” water supply situation affecting parts of Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
The panel, chaired by Senator Grace Poe, has set the hearing next Tuesday, March 19.
“What we are seeing now is not normal and something that our households and farmers do not deserve,” Poe said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Ipapatawag natin ang hearing na ito dahil ang sambayanang walang tubig, walang mainom, walang paligo ay uhaw na uhaw sa katotohahan,” she added.
The East Zone concession of Manila Water Co. has been experiencing water service interruptions.
READ: Dry taps spark outcry
Poe said officials of concerned agencies, heads of water concessionaires, regulators, and other concerned stakeholders will be invited to the hearing to discuss the water shortage and come up with solutions to the supply deficit.
She said it is vital that officials attend the hearing “so that together, we can come up with immediate short- and long-term solutions” to prevent a water crisis.
“We also need to hear the current mitigating measures planned by the agencies, such as the Department of Agriculture, given the importance of our agricultural sector to the economy,” Poe said.
The public services panel chairperson earlier raised alarm over the prevailing water shortage despite the onset of dry season and El Niño phenomenon.
She pushed for the passage of a bill that seeks to establish a single agency that would be in charge of sustainable water management and sanitation.
Poe has earlier filed Senate Bill No. 1217 or the proposed Water Regulatory Act, which aims to rationalize and streamline functions of various state agencies in terms of water regulation.
“Dapat may iisang water regulatory board na ‘di lang sa tubig kundi pati sa sewerage system kasi ngayon wala pang ganyan,” Poe said.
She also urged local government units to establish catchment areas or water cisterns to help communities during dry season or droughts. /kga
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