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Why are LGUs lacking safe water?


(BY: ATTY. BATAS MAURICIO) LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God…” (Micah 6:8, the Holy Bible).


WHY ARE LGUs LACKING SAFE DRINKING WATER? I really cannot understand why many local government units, like Butuan City in Agusan Del Norte, seem unable to find the appropriate solution to lack of potable and safe drinking water in their localities when calamities such as typhoons and earthquakes strike.

I mean, this should not really be a problem at all, if only local chief executives bother to prepare for this kind of a problem, long before the calamities happen. And the preparation does not even require any fanciful or profound thinking. All that it requires is a little common sense.

Let us take the case of Butuan City as an example. Reports are saying that residents spent their New Year without water running through their faucets. The reason? Officials are blaming Typhoon Seniang for the problem, although it was not clear how the storm stopped water from flowing through the residents’ faucets. Latest reports indicate that this problem persisted even as I was writing this column.


THERE IS PLENTY OF MONEY FOR DRINKING WATER IN RP! The Butuan City Water District (BCWD) tried to remedy the problem by rationing water through tankers. While this helped some residents, many have been complaining that the tankers never reached many barangays. Angry customers and city residents who have been without water for several days now are already denouncing BCWD and city officials through social networking sites.

That this is even happening indicates either the failure or refusal of responsible officials to recognize that strong rains, destructive floods, and devastating winds are here to stay, mainly as a result of global warming and climate change, and that there is nothing much we could do to stop them from happening.

Sadly, lack of potable or safe drinking water in the aftermath of calamities proves further that some officials—national and local—goofed, or are even guilty of criminal negligence, in not using the billions and billions of pesos in the government’s annual budget which had been earmarked precisely for buying machines that could filter and transform even the dirtiest canal water into safe drinking water.


MACHINES COULD TURN DIRTY WATER INTO SAFE WATER: So, where is the money that local government units should have used in buying these machines? Why don’t local government units, like Butuan City, have these machines when there is money to buy them? Have the machines been bought? If so, where are the machines? If, on the other hand, the machines have not been bought, where is the money?

I am personally aware that there are now many companies in the Philippines which either import or manufacture these machines. In fact, some of the machines have been made mobile, which means that they could be transported from one place to another so that the barangays or villages where water utility companies could not go can be easily reached and the residents supplied with safe drinking water.

One company I know also managed to install solar panels in some of its portable machines so that, in the event that even electric supply is disrupted during the calamities, there will be continuous power to enable the machines to continue filtering and cleaning dirty water and transforming them as safe drinking water. This does not need any serious thinking, does it? Unless, of course, corruption is somehow involved in the thinking process.


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