Poe calls for coordinated action vs water crisis
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Grace Poe on Monday expressed her dismay over the supposed lack of coordinated action among agencies of the government to address the impending water shortage that is predicted to be aggravated by the onset of the El Niño phenomenon.
Poe, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Services, said the government should have put in place policies to address a crisis that, she said, is foreseeable.
“While there are many water-related agencies, there is a drought of common goals that would set clear directions and actions toward water security for all Filipinos,” she said.
Poe made the statement following climate projections by the Philippines’ weather bureau that El Niño will begin between July and September, and will last until next year.
El Niño is the warm phase of the naturally occurring climate pattern marked by changes in wind direction and sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific and results in a prolonged dry spell and will likely cause water shortage in the country.
But the government has no excuse not to have been able to put in place “correct” policies to address the impending water crisis, Poe said.
“The coming of El Niño is a predictable phenomenon, which should have kept water authorities and concessionaires on their toes to prepare for contingency measures,” she said, alluding to the National Water Resources Board, and two of the country’s leading water service providers, Manila Water Co. and Maynilad Water Services Inc.
‘Same old scenarios’ “The water crisis hounding Filipinos is avoidable if the correct policies are in place and are being implemented,” she said.
The senator expressed dismay that every year, Filipinos are confronted with the “same old scenarios” during this season of the year: “dry taps, parched soil, below normal dam levels, long queues of pails.”
“By this time, we expect the Water Resources Management Office to get its feet wet amid the water shortage being felt by households, businesses, and the agriculture sector,” she said.
The Senate will continue to push for the passage of a law creating the Department of Water Resources, Poe said.
“[It is a] permanent body that will lead the comprehensive development and management of water resources to once and for all end our people’s perennial water woes,” she said.