Duterte Paves Way for Implementation of Water Code

Mar. 29, 2006

DAVAO CITY After five long years, the Davao City government is finally implementing the Water Resource Management and Protection Code of the city with the release of an executive order creating the body that will finalize the codes implementing rules and regulations (IRR).

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, through Executive Order 09, ordered the creation of the joint executive-legislative committee to study and review the implementing rules and regulations and recommend revisions and to submit the revised implementing rules and regulations necessary to effectively carry out the provisions of the code.

Considered by environmentalists as a landmark legislation, the water code was enacted in February 2001 to identify and declare certain areas within the city such as aquifers and water-resource areas.

It also sought the protection of the aquifers and water resource areas from prohibited activities and for the protection against all forms of pollution or ecological imbalance.

For the Panaghoy sa Kinaiyahan-Coalition for Mother Earth (Panaghoy), the mayors order was a welcome development, something that gives hope to a group of environmentalists who has long been wanting to see the full implementation of the water code.

We are happy with the mayors order. This time, we can almost see that the fight to protect environmentally critical areas like aquifers and vital water sources is won, said Jo Quianzon, vice-chair of the Panaghoy. This is especially because of the rapid agricultural developments happening in the upland watershed areas of the city.

The group was able to get a copy of the order during the observation of the World Water Day on Wednesday last week, which was punctuated with a forum on the significance of protecting Davaos water resources based on the experiences of Cebu city.

Cebu water activist Aida Granert, project manager of the Soil and Water Conservation Foundation Inc., said, I envy you and your leaders for coming up with a water code. Cebu is yet to realize the importance of coming up with the same despite the growing need to have one.

This is a wonderful gift to all of us especially today that the whole world is battling against a looming water crisis. The best way for us to be assured of a sustainable supply of water is for us to work really hard today and protect our water resources, Quianzon said.

Quianzon also hinted how they would like to get involved with the drafting of the IRR as their group has been at the frontline of the campaign to protect the rivers of the city, particularly the Panigan-Tamugan Rivers.

The said rivers are identified as the future source of the citys drinking water which is solely relying on the water supplied by the Talomo-Lipadas watershed.

We hope that the committee will seek the help of organizations like Panaghoy as we are very willing to share with them our knowledge, Quianzon said. (Jeffrey Tupas/Panaghoy)

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