Press Release
October 8, 2008

REVILLA BILL TO AID WATERLESS BARANGAYS

In a bid to guarantee zero safe water backlog in all 41,882 barangays nationwide barangays nationwide, Senator Bong Revilla pressed for the amendment of the Presidential Decree no. 198, otherwise known as the Provincial Water Utilities Act.

In his sponsorship speech last Monday, Revilla, who is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Works, bared that seven hundred sixty three (763) towns and cities all over the Philippines still have no water districts.

This constitutes eighty five percent (85%) of all residents in the countryside with no sufficient access to adequate supply of safe potable water, greatly contributing to the incidence of water-borne diseases such as typhoid fever, amoebiasis and diarrhea.

"Five hundred ninety five (595) water districts that have been formed covering seven hundred thirty seven (737) cities and towns throughout the country provide potable drinking water to some 13.3 million Filipinos… Through an improved water utility system, economic growth in a community speeds up, safeguards public health, and protects the well-being of the citizenry," Revilla said in his sponsorship speech.

Revilla also cited figures gathered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) that says that more than ten million Filipinos have no access to safe drinking water, while more than 21 million lack basic sanitation. Based on the UNDP report, most of those who have inadequate access to water and lack basic sanitation are slum dwellers and the poor who live in rural areas. Water quantity and quality are critical in highly populated areas such as Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, and Central Visayas .

"Our country is facing a food security problem. It is worse that we can not even provide potable drinking water. It is disappointing to know that many of our countrymen still have no direct access to safe potable water considering the fact that the Philippines is a water rich country, " he lamented.

Revilla appealed to his colleagues to approve Senate Bill 2486 that would increase the authorized capitalization of Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) from 2.5 billion pesos to 25 billion pesos to enable it to further spread the benefits of improved potable water systems.

The LWUA, established by virtue of P.D. 198, is a specialized lending institution mandated to promote and oversee the development of provincial waterworks systems in the country.

He stressed that providing adequate water service is deemed necessary for the acceleration of socio-economic development in the every barangay. "Cognizant of the urgency, the necessity, and the vital role that improved water supply systems play in the over-all socio-economic progress of the nation, there is a need for LWUA to increase its capitalization," Revilla pointed out.

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