MANILA (UPDATE) — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Thursday said the Philippines is facing a water crisis, as he announced the creation of an office of water management to deal with the country's water supply problem.
During the 6th Water Philippines Conference and Exposition in Pasay City, Marcos said the Philippines needs to emulate best practices in water management from other countries to address the water crisis.
"These are the kinds of thinking that we have to apply to the Philippines because of the crisis we are facing and how debilitating it will be to the entire economy, to entire society if our water supply problem continues to get greater," Marcos said.
He also lamented that despite the existence of the water supply crisis, it was something that "we have continually postponed."
"We all know the Philippines is not a dry place, and why do we not have enough water?" he also said.
The President noted that through the creation of an office of water management, the government could make a "more cohesive policy" in addressing the water crisis.
Marcos' executive order creating the office of water management will stand until bills seeking to create a Department of Water Management are signed into law.
As of writing, a copy of the said executive order has yet to be made available.
"When they say water is life, it's not just a cliché. It's a truism, and it's something we must always keep in mind," Marcos also said.
He noted the example of Israel, which he said has an "excellent water management" despite being a desert country.
"I spent some time in Israel and I saw how they treat the water, because water is very scarce, they live in the desert. Nevertheless, they are able to collect the water during the rainy season, whatever is available, they put fish in it to grow fish. When the summer comes, they take it out, take out the water, harvest the fish, and then that goes to irrigation efforts."
"So in essence, they use water three times. Every bit of fresh water is used always more than once," Marcos said.
He thanked those who organized and attended the water conference in Pasay City, which he said was "a necessary and urgent step towards achieving our collective aim of attaining water security."
Marcos's pronouncements came after parts of Metro Manila and Cavite dealt with water interruptions due to an increased turbidity of water in the Laguna Lake.
The event also came a day after World Water Day, an annual observance set by the United Nations on March 22 to highlight the importance of fresh water.
In a statement, Sen. Grace Poe said the creation of a water management office is "most welcome while the bills in Congress are being threshed out."
"This is a timely intervention from the Executive which will hopefully alleviate the creeping water crisis in the country... We expect that this development lays down the groundwork for a more integrated and holistic approach to the water problem," said Poe, chairperson of the Senate public services panel.
The National Water Resource Board (NWRB) earlier said that 11 million Filipino families lack access to clean water.