The profound success of “Every Drop Counts: A High-Level Dialogue for a Water-Secure Country” has heralded a new era in shaping a water-secure future for the Philippines.
This critical dialogue responded to the urgent need for a comprehensive approach to water security, bringing together visionaries, policymakers, and key stakeholders from across the nation. Through three enlightening and distinct panel discussions, the event dissected the complex issue of water security: Finance and Water Security, delving into financial strategies to ensure water availability for all; Water Governance, exploring the policies and mechanisms needed for effective water management; and Digitalization, Technology, and Infrastructure in Water Security, highlighting the role of technology and innovation in securing our water resources.
The event honored the esteemed presence of the Guest of Honor, Senator Grace Poe, emphasizing the critical need for a collaborative action plan to safeguard the nation’s water resources.
Notably, distinguished keynote speakers profoundly resonated with attendees, including Prof. Mely Caballero-Anthony, who highlighted “Water Security as Critical Core to Human Security,” stressing the inseparable link between water and human well-being.
Congresswoman Bernadette Herrera passionately championed the vital role of women in shaping a water-secure Philippines, urging greater inclusivity and gender equity in water management. Israeli Ambassador Ilan Fluss shared invaluable insights into technologically fortified water security, sparking conversations on innovative solutions to revolutionize water management.
Undersecretary Carlos Primo David (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) explored the critical aspect of Water Governance, deepening the understanding of its central role in ensuring the sustainability of water resources.
On the other hand, Department of Finance Assistant Secretary Glenda R. Rumohr-Figueroa shed light on the crucial nexus between Finance and Water Security, encouraging collaborative financial efforts to drive meaningful change.
LWUA Chairman Ronnie Ong on Water Security
On the sidelines of the event, Manila Standard had the privilege of engaging in an insightful conversation with Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) Chairman Ronnie Ong. “Every Drop Counts – A High-Level Dialogue for a Water-Secure Country” was organized by Qarah Comms Inc. for LWUA.
Chairman Ong emphasized LWUA’s essential role in the countryside and his office’s policy-making responsibility. He emphasized the need for swift action to dispel the perception of slow progress in the agency and enhance responsiveness to citizens’ needs.
Discussing LWUA’s prospective role within a potential Department of Water, Chairman Ong expressed hope that LWUA would oversee bulk water or water sourcing, awaiting clarity on the exact role if the department is established. He advocated for greater collaboration to avoid redundancy and achieve a cohesive approach to managing the country’s water resources.
Assessing the water situation in the Philippines, Ong stressed the need to address non-revenue water or water loss issues caused by various factors, resulting in a significant loss of the country’s water supply.
He emphasized the criticality of water, pointing out the substantial portion of the Filipino population with inadequate access to clean water and the importance of collective efforts to rectify this situation.
“Water is life. Basic form of life yan eh, kailangan natin ng tubig. Isa yan sa mga issues na nirereaise ni UN, right and World Health Organization, water. As of now, meron pa po tayong 11 million na Filipinos na wala pong maayos na patubig,” he said.
“According to a SWS ng survey, only 67 percent of the households in the Philippines ang may maayos na tubig. So malayong malayo pa po,” Ong stressed.
The “Every Drop Counts” dialogue saw approximately 400 enthusiastic attendees actively participating, engaging wholeheartedly in discussions to address just that.
Award-winning broadcaster Mitzi Borromeo, skillfully moderating the event, ensured conversations remained insightful and thought-provoking throughout the dialogue.
The event was presented by Aboitiz, Standard Systems Water and Wastewater Technologies, and Tubig Pilipinas. Event Partners included Manila Water, Maynilad, and Prime Water, with generous sponsorship from Aluminates, Chemical Research, and GSMH Law.
‘Every Drop Counts’ served as a rallying point, igniting urgency and mobilizing action to confront the pressing concern of water security in the Philippines, encouraging collaboration among experts and stakeholders as organizers hope to drive tangible efforts to ensure a water-abundant future for the Philippines.