By Billy Begas
House Deputy Minority Leader and Bagong Henerasyon Rep. Bernadette Herrera has refiled two measures that would create government agencies that will ensure sustainable use and management of the country’s water resource.
Herrera filed House Bill 1013 creating the Water Regulatory Commission (WRC) and HB 1014 establishing the Department of Water, Sewage and Sanitation (DWSS).
Herrera said the twin measures will help the country achieve universal access to safe, adequate, affordable, and sustainable water services and sanitation for all Filipinos.
“The Philippines is a water-rich country, yet despite an overflowing capital, many Filipinos experience deprivation from affordable, safe drinking water and a working sanitation system,” Herrera lamented.
The WRC will be a quasi-judicial body tasked to rationalize the economic and administrative regulation of water utilities. It will set the policy for water supply, sewerage, and septage management; issue licenses; set, review and approve rates; review and suspend contracts, and initiate an investigation of erring officials through its quasi-judicial nature.
On the other hand, the DWSS will manage the country’s water resource to ensure optimal use, including the preservation of land and water; build, maintain and monitor water-related infrastructure to ensure quality and accessibility; and contribute to international dialogue and push for domestic adoption of policies to achieve universal access to water and sanitation.