House panels okay bill on water dep’t

November 16, 2019

TWO House committees have approved a consolidated bill creating the Department of Water Resources and Services.

Members of the House Committee on Government Reorganization and Committee on Public Works and Highways see the need to have a separate department that will ensure and accelerate universal access to water supply and sanitation services.

The proposed department is likewise aimed at fostering and prioritizing infrastructure and public works which adopt innovative solution and international best practices to address the challenges of climate change.

Among the principal authors of the measure are Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco; Albay Rep. Joey Salceda; Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas; Anakalusugan Rep. Michael Defensor; 1PACMAN Rep. Mikee Romero; Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel Macapagal-Arroyo and Laguna Rep. Sol Aragones.

Under the measure the department will be the primary agency responsible for the planning and policy formulation towards the attainment of universal access to safe, adequate, affordable; and sustainable water supply and improved sanitation services for all Filipinos.

The department shall be the primary national agency to implement Water Code of the Philippines and Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004.

Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has instructed the House of Representatives to prioritize the bill and pass it before the year ends.

At yesterday’s hearing, Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza strongly opposed to the bill saying it will not solve the water crisis.

“Creating a department does not address the problem. It only delays the solution. That is what we’re urging the committee. Look at the measure, study it well. Creating other departments won’t address other levels of governance when the present level is not working,” Atienza said.