Carvajal: Water woes

Break Point

THE House of Representatives’ immediate reaction to Metro Manila’s water shortage was to conduct a probe. This reaction strikes me as rather cheesy or plastic. Why probe only Manila’s shortage and of what use is it now when the city is already in its grip?

A fault-finding probe into Manila’s water woes is utterly useless at this time and would only be in the service of official grandstanding. I say this because the absence of adequate water supply for the irrigation, health and sanitation needs of the country’s farm and fisher folks is common knowledge and needs no probing, yet the House hasn’t done anything to solve it.

Farmers have been without irrigation for their fields long before Metro Manila dwellers experienced shortage of water for their household needs. Moreover, a scandalously big number of rural barangays still lacks reliable water systems for the health and sanitation needs of their population.

Instead, therefore, of the House probing into the shortage of water in Metro Manila, the people, their constituents that is, should be asking for the House to be investigated for why it has failed to enact laws providing far-flung barangays with water for their irrigation, health and sanitation needs.

The current massive building program of terribly expensive roads, bridges, wharves and airports of steel and concrete is essentially for the convenience of city-and-big-town-dwellers. Yet, our most essential and basic need is for the less expensive infrastructure of flood control, irrigation and safe drinking water systems for our rural farm and fisher folks.

We also waste a lot of excess water during the rainy season by letting it flow to the sea. Probing it will not help build the much needed systems to impound and store floodwater for use in the dry season.

Why is the House not doing any of this? The same can be asked of our local government units, many of which are buying heavy equipment to build roads and bridges and expensive white elephants. How about building flood control, irrigation and safe drinking water systems for rural folks?

I’ve had my hobby farm in Colawin, Argao (yes, where the Davides are from) since 2006, but I still have to see an irrigation system for farmer-neighbors living on income from their farms. How many barangays have a similar fate? Yet Cebu Province is constructing two major buildings for a hefty P4.5 billion.

The over-arching problem is the inadequate infrastructure for the supply of irrigation and health and sanitation water to rural Philippines. The cause of this problem does not need probing into, namely executive and legislative failure to provide a basic service. These branches of government should be probed and not do the probing.


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