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LWUA: Creation of water dep’t to improve services

June 18, 2021 People's Tonight 476 views

MILLIONS of Filipinos stand to benefit from a significantly improved water supply and services should a new department be created specifically for water development and sanitation across the country, Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) chief Jeci A. Lapus reported in a press briefing held recently in his office in Balara, Quezon City.

Lapus made this point as he also gave an update on the status of the bill aimed to form a Department of Water Resources (DWR) which will oversee and implement all aspects of water provision in the country.

He said the proposed piece of legislation already passed the House appropriations committee late last year — adding that the House Speaker himself, Lord Allan Velasco, had assured him that the bill would have no problem passing through the Lower House.

It is at the Senate level, however, that the bill is getting stalled, according to the LWUA chief.

Lapus recounted that LWUA had already given a position paper on the merits of the proposal back in 2019. However, earlier this year, a senator was once again asking them to submit another one.

Rather than prolonging the process, Lapus said the bill should be a priority instead.

“Right now, there are many agencies handling various aspects of water services,” he said. “This leads to redundancy, confusion and too much red tape.”

He said a Cabinet-level, single agency on water services would trim down and simplify the “overlapping and fragmented” functions of various agencies involved in water and sanitation.

The result, Lapus said, would be a faster, more inclusive and expansive water development across the country for millions of households –especially in this time of pandemic where safe and clean water for drinking, hand washing and hygiene are most important.