Beng creates TWG on water security

Mayor Beng Climaco has issued an executive order creating the technical working group (TWG) on water security primarily to review and recommend to the local chief executive the proposed water rate hike by the Zamboanga City Water District (ZCWD).

Executive Order 536-2020, issued January 17, designates Vice Mayor Rommel Agan as the chairperson of the TWG with City Environment and Natural Resources Officer Engr. Rey Gonzales as secretariat. Members include Councilor Elbert Atilano, City Administrator Angelique Go, City Agriculturist Carmencita Sanchez, City Budget Officer Geraldine de la Paz, City Planning Officer Engr. Rodrigo Sicat, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer Dr. Elmeir Apolinario, City Legal Officer Atty. Jesus Carbon, ZC Chamber of Commerce President Rodrigo Rufo Soliven, Employee Confederation of the Philippines representative Atty. Carl Andrew Rubio, Rotary Club of Zamboanga City West president James Cesar Makasiar and Ateneo de Zamboanga University Presidnet Rev. Fr. Karel San Juan, S.J.

The TWG is also tasked to support the information and education campaign on water saving, plumbing fixtures and water efficient facilities;  collaborate with concerned agencies to address water security in the city; review plans and programs on the construction of small impounding dams and other water supply system projects in strategic areas across the city and assess policies on rain water harvesting and the establishment of waste water treatment facilities.

Mayor Climaco in her EO said as “a strategy to provide adequate, safe and sustainable water supply, the City shall pursue convergence and collaboration of efforts among government institutions and private organizations,” thus the creation of the TWG.

She cited Presidential Decree 856 or the Code of Sanitation of the Philippines which states that the health of the people, being of paramount importance, all efforts of public service should be directed towards the protection and promotion of health.

“Despite the available water resources and the many efforts to utilize and manage these resources, the inadequacy of water supply services remain as one of the major challenges of the water sector in the Philippines,” the EO said.  “The Zamboanga Peninsula Regional Development Plan 2017-2022 acknowledged the inadequate supply of water in the region particularly in urban areas due to increasing population and the impacts of climate change. “

The Agan-led TWG has 5 objectives- strengthen the enabling environment for sustainable service delivery; strengthen the capacity of water supply and wastewater treatment service provides to expand coverage and improve services; strengthen the collection, analysis and sharing of water and climate data; reduce risks from climate-related disasters and improve capacity for ensuring long-term water security. (Sheila Covarrubias)