IN 1976, when the country was faced with a lot of crisis, then President Ferdinand Marcos issued Presidential Decree 1067 or otherwise known as the Water Code of the Philippines, and this was immediately passed by the National Assembly. The object of such legislation was to protect the water resources of the country. Water bureau or council was created by this legislation. They were and are tasked to manage the water resources of the country and to protect the people from unscrupulous use of the water resources.
Another objective was to conserve and control the depleting water resources of the country through regulation of the use of water. The law was passed to really see the welfare of the present and future Filipinos.
Implementing Rules and Regulations of P.D. 1067 was formulated and was issued in 1979. The said IRR was to implement and give fangs to the law.
At this point in history, the water crisis and so as other crises had already been addressed that the law was no longer needed as to its original purpose. Such that the water regulation council was not so keen in really implementing the provisions of the law.
As years go by, water in the Philippines was more than what the Filipinos needed. Even when there were droughts or dry spells that hit the country, we had sufficient water supply, not because of the law but because of the good natural resources of the country. The Philippines had more and the people are blessed with abundant resources.
The Arroyo and Aquino administrations have made amendments to the IRR and penalized communities that provided water for themselves without asking government’s participation in their role of delivering basic services.
We had been taught that basic needs should be provided for by social institutions and one of which is the State. So, it is the State’s obligation to provide us with basic needs such as water and shelter.
These administrations amended resolutions made by previous water councils and have imposed unbearable penalties to organizations that had answered the duty of the State for common welfare.
In my previous article, I opined that the cause of such immoral act of the administration to impose inhuman penalties to companies and organizations is not because they want to implement the law but rather it is to fatten their savings and have more benefits at the end of the year.
It is clear as pure water that the intention of having sky high penalties is simply because of the arbitrariness and indecisiveness of this administration.
If government can afford to make the lives of communities miserable by putting unscrupulous and irrational penalties to water. What next will be taxed, and levied? Will it be air, land or might be even space? This is extortion in day light. Is this the matuwid na daan?
St. Ezekiel Moreno, St. Lorenzo Ruiz and St. Pedro Calungsod; Blessed John Paul II; and Sir Faraon Lopez, pray for us.