DSWD readies P1.4B in assistance for drought-hit areas

DSWD readies P1.4B in assistance for drought-hit areas

PHOTO: A watermelon farmer looks at his land in Imus, Cavite, which has dried up amid a strong and mature El Niño. STORY: DSWD readies P1.4B in assistance for drought-hit areas

DRIED AND CRACKED | A watermelon farmer looks at his land in Imus, Cavite, which has dried up amid a strong and mature El Niño. (File photo by RICHARD A. REYES / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — The government is looking at distributing P1.4 billion to 304 cities and towns for water-harvesting projects and training sessions to help drought-hit communities cope with the effects of the El Niño phenomenon, which will persist until May.

In a television interview, Social Welfare Assistant Secretary Irene Dumlao said the agency has set aside the amount from its funding this year for El Niño mitigation measures.


The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is rolling out Project Lawa (Local Adaptation to Water Access), which seeks to employ citizens belonging to the country’s poorest sectors, identified through the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction, Dumlao said.


READ: Pagasa: Drought may hit 24 provinces due to El Niño

READ: Almost 2,000 farmers now affected by drought in Negros Occidental

Under Project Lawa, the DSWD will tap local governments as project partners in the construction of water harvesting facilities, small-town reservoirs, shallow-tube wells, and water diversion canals.

Dumlao said each local government beneficiary would be allotted 10 reservoirs with a size of 350 square meters (sq m) to 500 sq m (slightly bigger than the standard area of a basketball court) and with a depth of 1.5 meters.

Project Lawa reportedly had its pilot implementation in three provinces last year: in Aguinaldo, Alfonso Lista, and Hungduan towns in Ifugao for Luzon; Sebaste, Barbaza, and Sibalom towns in Antique for Visayas; and Laak, Monkayo, and Compostela towns in Davao de Oro for Mindanao.

“After this pilot implementation, we realized that our beneficiaries needed more aside from water sources,” she said.


The projects would cover 16 of the country’s regions, 58 provinces, and 304 towns and cities, according to her.

“The beneficiaries will participate in cash-for-work and cash-for-training for 25 days, and will receive daily wages based on the prevailing rates in the region,” Dumlao said.

Appeal from MMDA

Metro Manila local governments, on the other hand, were also asked to save water by passing ordinances to reduce the consumption of water-heavy industries, including golf courses and car wash shops, in preparation for El Niño.

In a statement on Monday, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said the Metro Manila Council (MMC) approved a resolution laying down “water crisis mitigation” measures.

These include “rainwater harvesting/establishment of catchment areas, reduction in the use of water in the maintenance of golf courses and in car washing, recycling of wastewater or gray water for watering plants and car washing, fixing leaks in water pipes and development of water filtration systems.”

The MMC is the agency’s policy-making body composed of 17 Metro Manila mayors and local counterparts of government agencies.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Citing information from the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, MMDA acting chair Don Artes allayed public fears and said there would be no water rationing and interruptions for March, as there was sufficient supply.

TAGS: Department of Social Welfare and Development, dry spell, DSWD assistance, El Niño

© Copyright 1997-2024 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.