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Malacañang okays masterplan to avoid water crisis

President Rodrigo Duterte has approved an executive order that includes a draft masterplan seeking to provide an integrated approach to ensure water security, a Palace official said Tuesday.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the President agreed with the plan to prevent the recurrence of a water shortage that has afflicted millions of customers of the private concessionaire Manila Water in Metro Manila.

“That [EO] has to pass through vetting but in principle, the President has already approved it during the last Cabinet meeting. The draft has been given to the Office of the Executive Secretary already for vetting. So, the draft is being finalized and it is awaiting the President’s signature,” Nograles told Palace reporters.

“Basically, we want to create a master plan in terms of managing our water resources. But in order to create a masterplan, we have to get everybody, all the water sector bodies, offices, agencies, and departments, to get together [and] coordinate with each other,” he added.

He said the proposed EO seeks to reconstitute the National Water Resources Board, which will be responsible for the integration of all government efforts involving water.

It also seeks to review agreements with water concessionaires, monitoring their performance on the agreements set by the government.

Aside from crafting a national water management master plan for integrated water resource management, the NWRB will also streamline and consolidate planning and regulation of all water and river basins in the country.

Meanwhile, Nograles even stressed that the creation of the Department of Water should be pushed by the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council.

LEDAC, a consultative and advisory government body, helps the President decide on certain programs and policies essential to the realization of the goals of the national economy. It also serves as a venue for the President to integrate his legislative agenda with Congress, especially on vital issues and concerns affecting national development.

“I think it should be included [in the priorities of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council or LEDAC] because of the fragmented approach that we have. The EO we are crafting can be superseded and amended by the next administration,” Nograles said.

“The new administration will just overrule or cancel that EO then we would go back to our old ways. But with the Department of Water, you have to pass through Congress. So ideally, it has to be institutionalized through the Department of Water,” he added.

Nograles said he remained optimistic that Congress would support the bill creating a water department to address effects of the recurring dry season.

Last week, the Duterte administration considered the creation of a Department of Water to mitigate the effects of El Niño and water shortage in parts of the country.

READ: Water department mulled amid El Niño onset

After weeks of intermittent water supply, residents of Upper Bicutan in Taguig, Metro Manila finally got their steady water supply, Manila Water said Tuesday.

Jeric T. Sevilla Jr., head of corporate communication of Manila Water, said the water supply was normalized following the installation of three line boosters in the area.

Elevated areas like Upper Bicutan in Taguig normally experience no water once pressure is reduced.

With the help of the three line boosters installed by Manila Water, residents of Upper Bicutan finally got water after weeks of intermittent supply.

“The installation of line boosters is only one of several technical and network solutions to bring water to high areas and those located at the far-end of the concession area,” Sevilla said in a phone interview. With PNA

Topics: Rodrigo Duterte , Karlo Nograles , Manila Water , water shortage , National Water Resources Board
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