For faster, simpler and more efficient delivery of services, a single agency should handle all aspects of providing safe drinking water to Filipinos nationwide, Local Water Utilities Administration Acting Administrator Jeci Lapus said during a recent television interview.
Lapus explained that currently, a person must go through various agencies to put up a water facility anywhere in the country.
He said that aside from LWUA, which is mandated to provide clean water outside Metro Manila, other regulators also step in when it comes to water issues.
They include the National Water Resources Board, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, Laguna Lake Development Authority, Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission, and National Irrigation Authority.
This is aside from local government units and private firms such as Maynilad Water Service and Manila Water Co.
“It gets confusing because of the many agencies you have to deal with, resulting in conflicts,” Lapus said.
To cut red tape and streamline the process, Lapus said the creation of a Department of Water, Irrigation, Sewerage, and Sanitation—which would consolidate and focus on all aspects of water provision—would be the best solution to reach out to the millions of households all over the country that are still lacking water connections.
“It would be good to have a single entity that would focus on [water related] health and environment concerns,” Lapus said, noting the government already has separate departments for energy, environment, transportation, and the like.
Measures have been filed in Congress specifically to address this issue, he noted.
House Bill 2457, which aims to create a Department of Water, Sewage, and Sanitation, was filed last September by Bohol Rep. Arthur Yap, a former agriculture secretary.
A related proposal, House Bill 4995, was also submitted by Nueva Ecija Rep. Estrellita Suansing, eyeing the creation of a Department of Water Resources and Services to remedy the fragmented and overlapping functions of water agencies in the country.
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