By Louella Desiderio, August 22, 2022; The Philippine Star
Manila, Philippines — The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) is backing the passage into law of the proposed measure for the creation of a Department of Water Resources to better address issues involving the country’s water resources.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan expressed support for the creation of the Department of Water Resources when asked about the agency’s position on the proposed measure during the Management Association of the Philippines’ general membership meeting.
The NEDA chief told reporters it is important for the bill to be passed given the problems surrounding water that need to be addressed.
“We have droughts, problems with fresh water supply, with irrigation, with flooding. So that only tells you how critical that is,” he said.
While there are many institutions tasked to handle these issues, he said changes need to be made.
“Indeed, there are so many of those institutions, agencies created over time to address these issues. But the current setup is just so complex and so inefficient. So, we really need to harmonize, to simplify,” he said.
The creation of the Department of Water Resources is among the priority legislative measures announced by President Marcos during his first State of the Nation Address.
Last July, the bill which seeks to set up a Department of Water Resources, was refiled at the Senate.
Under the bill, the Department of Water Resources will serve as the primary agency in the Executive branch responsible for policy, planning, coordination, implementation and monitoring of the development and management of the country’s water resources.
Balisacan said the bill has to be passed within the current Congress.
He also said the NEDA has written to Marcos, the House of Representatives and the Senate to designate the representatives to be part of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC), which serves as a consultative and advisory body to the President on programs and policies to realize goals for the economy.
NEDA serves as the principal LEDAC Secretariat.
Given the urgency to address the country’s problems, Balisacan said it is in NEDA’s interest to push for the LEDAC to convene as soon as possible.