Manila Water Company Inc. and the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System-Regulatory Office signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen their partnership in mainstreaming and uplifting gender and development in the Philippine water sector.
The signing was led by MWSS-RO chief regulator Atty. Patrick Lester Ty and Manila Water president and CEO Jocot De Dios, along with MWSS-RO GAD focal point system chairperson Atty. Claudine Orocio-Isorena, Manila Water enterprise regulatory affairs group head for East Zone Atty. Kaye Celera and the GAD champions of the two institutions.
Under the MOU, MWSS-RO and Manila Water will work together to establish a joint committee to develop and implement different initiatives designed to enable gender-transformative water programs in support of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG 5 – Gender Equality and SDG 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation.
These initiatives, which will also get the participation by the two institutions’ main stakeholders which include local government units, barangays and customers, underscore the gender and water nexus, including the role of women in their communities as the main collectors and managers of water.
These can lead to the provision of greater access to clean and potable water, sanitation facilities that can cater to the specific needs of women and the marginalized sector and best hygiene practices through sanitation and hygiene education, Manila Water said.
“As you all know, water is important in gender and development as women are disproportionately affected by access to clean water and sanitation. As one of the advocacies of the MWSS-RO, we continue to push for gender and development to make sure that there is inclusion, and that no one is left behind,” said Ty.
“We support this wholeheartedly because we do have a very strong push and advocacy [on GAD]. It’s not an advocacy, it’s a natural thing to do… Women are really affected by the inequalities that we currently face in the society. This signing here, it’s something that lists down principles [in GAD] that we have to try to work together to identify concrete action steps to actually foster this noble endeavor that we have,” said De Dios.
The MOU is one of the results of Manila Water’s participation in the GAD Kapihan conducted by MWSS-RO in March 2023 where opportunities for synergies and collaborations were identified with the private sector as represented by the two Metro Manila water concessionaires and the public sector represented by the MWSS-RO, Department of Health and Department of Education.
By strengthening public-private partnerships and streamlining the mandates of national government agencies with the services provided by the concessionaires, MWSS-RO and Manila Water also hope to create impact, reach goals and fulfill commitments set at the local, sectoral, national and global levels.