To ensure that every Filipino has access to potable water, the Philippine government has unveiled a new water plan, which will cost a total of Php 1.07 trillion. 

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said the project has a timeline of 10 years and can be financed by the private sector or the national government. 

As part of the Philippine Water Supply and Sanitation Master Plan announced on Thursday (September 16), NEDA is also pushing for the establishment of a Department of Water Resources and a Water Regulatory Commission. 

According to Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA Chief Karl Kendrick Chua, the water master plan will create a unifying framework that will implement better water supply and sanitation services to Filipinos. 

At present, only 44 percent of households in the country have access to proper and fully reticulated waterworks systems. Meanwhile, about 57 million Filipinos still source their water from communal pipes, springs, or wells located far from their homes.

During the launch, Chua also put a spotlight on the Philippines’ sanitation problem, noting 4 million Filipinos were still practicing open defecation, exposing them to various diseases.

NEDA Assistant Secretary Roderick Planta shared that Php 100 billion will have to be spent to implement the new water plan. 

While the majority of the funding will come from public funds, Planta said “increased collaboration with the private sector is considered to leverage loans from both government financing institutions and private financial institutions.”

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Director Rolyn Zambales revealed that water will be part of the services whose jurisdiction will be transferred to local government units (LGUs) next year. 

Though this is the case, water will remain a key priority, Zambales noted. He adds that LGUs will receive help, in terms of funding, from the P10-billion growth equity fund in the proposed P5.02-trillion 2022 national budget.

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