Pangilinan wants inter-agency task force on water management

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 18 2020 11:47 AM | Updated as of Nov 18 2020 11:59 AM

MANILA - An executive order that will make different agencies work together on managing issues on water may be better instead of creating a separate department, a lawmaker said Wednesday.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan, who was chair of the National Irrigation Administration in 2014, said solving the problem of flooding connected to the management of dams, as highlighted by the recent inundation of many areas in Luzon, must be coordinated through several agencies.

He said the NIA is not solely focused on solving the problem of flooding as this is the task of the Department of Public Works and Highways. At the same time, water management also involves agencies such as the Local Water Utilities Administration, the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, and the National Water Resources Board. The Department of Energy must also be involved to oversee hydropower plants.

"All these agencies that are involved in water management and flood control, I believe one solution is to come up with an executive order and put (together) this inter-agency task force," he told ANC's Headstart.

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Pangilinan said the proposal to have a Department of Water must be viewed with caution as the government already has a "huge bureaucracy."

"My sense is let’s just create an inter-agency task force by way of an executive order that will put together flood control—in other words, an integrated resource management agency, rather than a department," he said.

The group should then craft a 10-year plan for the Philippines, specifically for flood control and harvesting rainfall for irrigation, he said.

Release of water from the Magat Dam while the Cagayan River was swelling at the height of Typhoon Ulysses is supposedly one of the reasons many areas in the region were submerged.

Pangilinan has filed a Senate resolution seeking an investigation into the recent flooding in the Cagayan Valley.

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