Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda said he has been working with the embassies of Israel and the Kingdom of the Netherlands to address issues in the country’s water sector.
Salceda, chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, head a technical working group crafting a bill on the creation of the Department of Water Resources.
Salceda said Israeli ambassador Ilan Fluss, expressed enthusiasm “for your interest in Israel’s technology and innovation” in the water sector.
The envoy also offered to collaborate with Salceda on water issues and even invited the Bicol lawmaker to a study tour in Israel on the matter.
In a statement, Salceda said he is also communicating with the embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands on the water issue.
“These two countries are the best partners to learn from. One had too little water and is now an agriculture giant in the Middle East. The other is in an existential battle against too much water, and is now the world’s most important source of water management technology. They handled the extremes. So, they would have the best insights into both a lack of water and an excess of it,” Salceda explained.
Salceda also said he aims to generate investments in the water sector from the two countries. Maricel V. Cruz
“I also hope to invite technical experts, encourage the hiring of their experts so we can do knowledge transfer, and bundle our partnership into some big multi-year package with our multilateral partners,” Salceda said.
Salceda, who assigned the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office to gather the executive agencies and come up with an administration version of the SONA priority, says that the House will study water regulation throughout the break.
Salceda said he hopes that the executive and the House “can come up with a new, coherent, and complete vision for the water sector.”
“Generally, we want to mimic the way the energy sector’s aspects are regulated. A NEA equivalent for missionary water access. A Transco for water transmission. A NAPOCOR for water generation. And an ERC to regulate water tariffs.”
Salceda added that he wants to ensure “that when you want to build a dam, you know where to go. When you want to build a water or sewerage pipeline, you know where to go. Unlike now, when regulation is extremely disjointed.”
The point, Salceda said “is you want an apex body that gathers the water regulatory agencies as one family that talks to each other.”