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The House bill creating an inter-agency body that will propose, formulate, draft, and direct the implementation of a comprehensive master plan to address the looming water crisis has hurdled the committee level. Gaining the approval of the House Committee on Public Works and Highways was House Bill (HB) No.6345. Bulacan 3rd district Rep. Lorna Silverio is the principal author of the bill. Under the bill, the proposed inter-agency body will have the power to call on any government body--including private sector agencies--to contribute to solving the crisis. The approval by the House panel chaired by Surigao del Sur 1st district Rep. Romeo Momo Sr. was done just before the sine die adjournment of Congress. Also incorporated in HB No.6345 was HB No.601, also authored by Silverio. The lady solon said that over the past two decades, the Philippines has experienced various water shortages that have adversely impacted the nation. “Given the vital importance of water to the everyday lives, leaders of the nation should be alarmed and should act today to avert a devastating water shortage. Even with the La Niña season, when there is supposed to be an abundance of water supply, the nation, particularly the National Capital Region (NCR), experiences water shortages that adversely impact on communities and business operations," she said. Silverio lamented that the onset of the EI Niño phenomenon has worsened the situation, drying up traditional water sources, and limiting its capacity to supply the water needs of a continuously growing metropolis. “While water rationing is a stop-gap solution, a long-term solution that will assure a sustainable supply of clean, potable water must be put in place urgently," she stressed. Representatives of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), and Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) endorsed the bill's approval during the committee hearing.

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2023/6/16/proposed-inter-agency-body-to-tackle-looming-water-crisis-ok-d-by-house-panel)