MANILA, March 25 (Bernama-Xinhua): A Filipino lawmaker has expressed alarm over a government agency report that 11 million families in the Philippines have no access to clean water.
Senator Joel Villanueva was reacting to the data from the National Water Resources Board that 11 million, or 41.6 per cent of the more than 26 million families, are deprived of quality drinking water, reported Xinhua.
"It's such a sad reality that almost half of the Filipino families do not have access to clean water due to lack of supply and sanitation," he said.
Villanueva filed Senate Bill No. 1048, or the Safe Drinking Water Act, which requires water service providers to submit a water safety plan and conduct a comprehensive examination of water quality every two months and obtain permits and certifications such as the Certificate of Potability of Drinking Water.
He urged the government to take "an active role in ensuring that every Filipino has safe and potable water by having a comprehensive management programme on water safety planning".
To ensure the preservation, management, and utilisation of the country's water resources, Villanueva also filed Senate Bill No. 2013, or the "National Water Act," which establishes a national framework for water resource management and the creation of the Department of Water Resources and the Water Regulatory Commission.
The creation of the Department of Water Resources is one of the priority measures of President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos' administration. Last month, Marcos approved the creation of the Water Resource Management Office to manage the country's water resources and respond to the current environmental challenges through a concerted government effort with the help of all sectors of society.
On Tuesday, National Water Resources Board executive director Sevillo David reported that the 11 million families get water from "unsafe" sources such as deep wells, springs, rivers, lakes, and rainwater.
Aside from unsafe water, David said sanitation remains a problem in the Philippines as many families still practice open defecation, risking water contamination and diseases.
Since 1993, the United Nations has declared March 22 of every year as World Water Day to raise awareness of the 2 billion people living without access to clean water. - Bernama-Xinhua