By Prince Golez
The government is relying on a newly-created water management body to address the impact of a prolonged dry spell or El Niño, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said Tuesday.
Marcos Jr. made the statement in a media interview after senators called for the government to have a comprehensive plan to address an impending water crisis.
“They may not have heard the fact that we have organized already the Office of Water Management precisely to address this problem. In fact, just recently, I spoke on precisely this subject on what were the elements that we really have to get into place because we have a serious – never mind, kalimutan na muna, isantabi muna natin ‘yung El Niño, kahit walang El Niño may problema talaga tayo sa tubig,” according to him.
Part of the overall water plan, he added, is to transition from traditional water sources to surface water, as well as to build infrastructure such as flood control systems.
In terms of rice production, the President said his administration has already identified certain rice varieties such as hybrid varieties that do very well during the dry season.
“So pinapalit-palitan natin ‘yung variety para to take advantage of the different qualities of the different varieties, especially – not only of rice but also of the high value crops dahil ‘pag dry season usually ‘yung ibang lugar na hindi nag-aalaga ng – nagtatanim ng palay ay high value crops ang kanilang tinitingnan,” said Marcos Jr.
“But again, the water management problem that we have in the Philippines goes beyond – because it’s water – it goes beyond just agriculture. Of course, agriculture is an extremely important part of it but we are talking about irrigation – water for irrigation, water for power production, our management of surface water sa flood control and for irrigation as well,” he pointed out.
The Chief Executive said the Water Resource Management Office will be attached to the Office of the President as well as the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources to address the concerns of many agencies regarding water management.
“But we are hoping down the road, mayroon ng mga bills that have been filed in the legislature, in both houses, na itinatayo ang Department of Water Management, and that’s precisely what we are trying to face. We already have a problem but then there’s now the new factor or not-so-new factor of climate change that we really have to deal with,” said Marcos Jr.
“The good thing is that we have seen many examples of water management around the world which we can emulate. Puwede nating gayahin dito sa Pilipinas, bagay dito sa Pilipinas… Hindi katanggap-tanggap na ang Pilipinas kulang sa tubig. Dahil alam naman natin basang-basa ang Pilipinas na ano eh. We are a tropical country,” he concluded.