May 5, 2009

Press Release
March 22, 2009



In celebration of World Water Day today, March 22


In celebration of World Water Day, independent senator and reforms advocate Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan today reminds key sectors in government, civil society, and private enterprise to take part in actively managing the country’s water resources to boost eco-tourism and livelihood efforts.


Pangilinan, who chairs the Senate Committee on Tourism, cites a study published by the UN Water showing the opportunities presented by proper management of the world’s water resources. He says: “The international community is paving the way for nations around the world to unite in managing the foundation of our very existence on earth: water. We must do our share to properly manage our water and aquatic resources and reap its social and economic benefits.”


“Before we start thinking of convoluted, expensive, ‘high-tech’ solutions to our country’s problems, let us ensure that we are able to provide our countrymen with their basic needs,” he commented. The senator cited figures stating that, in 2003, around 25 million Filipinos did not have access to clean water. From 2005 to 2007, government was able to provide around one million families with access to clean water; however, millions more Filipinos still not have access to clean water and sanitation systems.


With the theme, “Shared Waters, Shared Opportunities”, the UN Water report states that “Cooperation enables better ecological management, providing benefits to river, aquifer, lake, wetland and related ecosystems as well as adjacent estuaries, coastal areas and seas. It also underpins important further types of benefits, some of which are not readily apparent or properly taken advantage of. For example, efficient, cooperative management and development of shared waters and adjacent flood plains can yield increased food and energy production, improved irrigation can contribute to poverty reduction and help control migration from rural areas to urban centres. And transboundary early-warning systems can minimize loss of life in the event of floods.”


“As an archipelago, as a nation that depends so much on water for livelihood, tourism, food security, and survival, we need to seriously address the challenges of water management and ensure that we don’t leave our children with worse problems than we have now,” Pangilinan reminded.


He exhorts communities, local governments, and private businesses to support national and international efforts to make the most of our water and aquatic resources and make these benefit the most number of people. The senator cites success stories from his office’s own initiatives to tie up with NGOs and private enterprises and groups for the promotion of youth empowerment, livelihood and enterprise development, and juvenile justice and welfare, among other advocacies.


“Politics is the art of the possible. If we commit to work together on this issue, then we can prevent our own futures from drying up. We need to make the most of our available resources because our countrymen cannot continue to live, bathe, and drink from muck. We all deserve better.”