MinDA: Most households in Barmm no access to potable water

Arta plans meeting on Lapu’s desalinated water endorsement
Water

Mindanao is experiencing a water crisis, particularly in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Barmm). Because of this, many impoverished families still rely on unprotected and contaminated water sources. 

MinDA Deputy Executive Director Asec. Romeo Montenegro disclosed that despite having vast water resources, the majority of households in Barmm do not have access to potable water. 

MinDA said that with this, they are formulating a water supply program to address water scarcity in specific municipalities where 50 percent of the population lacks access to clean and accessible water services. 

“There were 121 areas targeted for the program spread across all six regions. But of course, as expected, most areas identified are in the Bangsamoro Region, because most of the municipalities in the Barmm do not have access to level 3 water systems,” Montenegro said during the 18th Mindavao Development Authority (MinDA) Board Meeting Press Conference on June 27, 2024.

The official revealed that the scheduled implementation of the program will be between 2025 and 2028, with an estimated program cost of P3.9 billion.

Montenegro added that the possible solutions that MinDA is trying to create are a framework for many interventions and proposals that will be pushed across agriculture, energy, and water.

He emphasized “Different living conditions affect project implementation. Some areas rely on groundwater, while others explore water desalination. Islands like Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-tawi are particularly suitable for desalination.” 

Earlier in the board meeting, MinDA newly-appointed chairperson, Leo Tereso Magno said that the administration would support the water supply program and propose a strategic solution to improve water quality in the entire Mindanao to develop sustainable access to fresh water.

According to Magno, MinDA will continue to prioritize other major programs such as peace and security, infrastructure and construction, business development, and investment climate and innovation ecosystem in the region.

In a 2022 report, published by the Situation of Children Analysis in the Philippines, 97 percent of the population have access to at least basic drinking water services. 

However, 3 out of 100 individuals, or an estimated 3.3 million, only have restricted or unimproved access to drinking water sources and services. Although the majority of the regions are at or over the 90 percent threshold, just 80.2 percent of people in Barmm have access to at least minimal access to drinking water, with 2.1 percent still relying mostly on surface water.

While there is an average of eight out of ten people with access to basic sanitation services across regions, in Barmm, there are only at most six in ten people having access to the same services. 

Barmm has the lowest percentage of households having access to basic sanitation, with 55.3 percent, and the highest rate of open defecation with 17.8 percent, meaning that over two out of every 10 people lack access to any sanitary facility. DEF

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