Marcos OKs creation of Water Resource Management Office
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Wednesday approved the creation of a Water Resource Management Office (WRMO) to manage the country’s precious water resources.
The Presidential Communications Office (PCO) said the new office would also handle ecological threats through a combined government effort with the support of all sectors of society.
During the multi-sectoral meeting in Malacañang, Marcos discussed the importance of planning with regard to water management, pointing out the need for a plan that will serve as a roadmap for waste management agencies.
“Kaya nga kailangan sumunod sa plano. That’s why we have to strengthen the mandate of the Water Management Office. We have to bring them together so that they are all following the overall plan,” Marcos said, as quoted by the PCO.
(To ensure we stay on track, we need to reinforce the mandate of the Water Management Office. By bringing all stakeholders together, we can make sure everyone is working towards the same unified plan.)
“So that whatever the relationship we come to with MWSS (Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System) and Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) and the Water Board, DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) and this new Water Management Office, it has to be cohesive in the sense that kailangan ‘yung recommendation ng management office sinusundan,” he added.
The President suggested that the WRMO’s first action should be reducing the country’s reliance on groundwater and deep wells, as well as managing surface water supply.
“That’s as far as I could tell. We have sufficient… there’s enough water in the Philippines hindi lang natin ginagamit, tinatapon natin,” he said.
An executive order (EO) will be crafted to enable the National Water Resources Board (NWRB), MWSS and LWUA and the other water-related agencies of the DENR to have a collaborative mechanism under the WRMO to implement water management programs.
The WRMO will be established under the DENR and serve as a temporary body while the Water Resources Department is being created.
The WRMO’s main functions include formulating and ensuring the implementation of the Integrated Water Management Plan (IWMP), which will integrate various plans of different agencies, the PCO said.
The IWMP, which will serve as the main guiding document for the WRMO, will respond to the current environmental challenges and manage water resources through a concerted government effort engaging various sectors.
The WRMO is also tasked to champion, together with the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO), the passage of a law creating an apex body; collaborate closely with all relevant agencies, including local government units (LGUs), private sector, civil society, and the communities; as well as perform other functions under the DENR.