Water.org Hosts Inaugural Philippine Water and Sanitation Forum 

Water.org Philippines held its inaugural Philippine Water and Sanitation Forum on May 10th, 2018 at the Marco Polo Hotel in Ortigas, Manila. In keeping with the program theme, “Accelerating Impact Through Collaboration”, the event showcased best practices from sector leaders and facilitated learning, networking, and cross-sector information sharing on the current issues related to the water and sanitation crisis in the Philippines. More than a hundred participants from different divisions of government, private companies, and NGOs alike shared their knowledge on the ongoing and proposed collaborative water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) initiatives. 

The program began with an overview of the water and sanitation situation in the Philippines. Presentations by Water.org team members highlighted the value of Water.org programs, most notably its innovative WaterCredit Program. An overview of the model, its global and local impact, and key testimonials on the WaterCredit program implementation were shared by some of Water.org’s largest partners (ASA, NWTF, and TSPI). Other Water.org initiatives, such as but not limited to WaterConnect, and the ongoing partnership with UNICEF, were also discussed. 

Representatives from government financial institutions, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the provincial government of Palawan, presented ideas on how different financial institutions play a crucial role in financing the infrastructure requirements needed for WASH. The following panel focused on the need for capacity building to water service providers in order to scale WSS with representatives from WaterLinks, WaterConnect, and the Philippine Association of Water Districts (PAWD). The third and largest panel of the afternoon focused on different WASH behavioral change initiatives. Representatives from the Department of Health (DOH), UNICEF, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Education (DepED), and the local government unit of Milagros, Masbate shared their respective success stories and the challenges in changing the Filipino behavior towards water and sanitation.  Mr. Jose Tecson, one of the head consultants for the National Water Supply and Sanitation Master Plan, ended the day with the preliminary findings of the Plan and the projected areas of reform needed in the Philippine WASH sector. 

Key takeaways from the day’s discussions were reiterated in the closing remarks by Water.org Philippines Country Director, Mr. Carlos Ani, who highlighted the need for better and more efficient collaboration amongst the different WASH sector players. 

For event materials, including presentations and photos, click here.  

Photos: (Top) Panelists discuss important water and sanitation issues. (Bottom) Water.org’s Philippine Country Director Carlos Ani discusses the day’s success with sector stakeholders and promotes collaboration in achieving shared goals.

Helping the effects of tidal flooding: The dedication of the local water supply and sanitation provider (BPSPAMS) Tirta Sari Mukti 

Tidal flooding seems to be the daily occurrence for the Pekalongan people who reside close to the coastline. The high water table and land subsidence has reduced water absorption and increases the negative impacts of the tidal flooding. In the midst of tidal flooding, the village continued living their normal lives, but the officers of the drinking water and sanitation provider (BPSPAMS) Tirta Sari Mukti were concerned about the supply and access of safe water in the village. 

BPSPAMS was established in 2009 through the PANSIMAS I Program committed to provide the access to clean water for the people in 5 hamlets in Jeruksari Village. However, BPSPAMS Tirta Sari Mukti was only able to provide access to clean water to 3 hamlets due to limited availability of raw materials. To meet the needs of the remaining 2 hamlets, BPSPAMS Chairman Mr. Wahmidin initiated to raise the funding from the third party to develop their water supply system. 

Facilitated by the BPSPAMS Association of Pekalongan and Water.org, BPSPAMS Tirta Sari Mukti met the banking party, PD BPR PKK Pekalongan, to submit a financing proposal for a loan aimed at BPSPAMS.  To date, 9 BPSPAMS offices in Pekalongan Regency have received the financing from the PD BPR BKK Pekalongan. Almost all of the financing proposed by BPSPAMS is intended to develop water networks and services. The loan amount of Rp 50.000.000 was utilized to support the procurement of one new water pump at the cost of Rp 80.000.000. The remaining Rp 30.000.000 was taken from the BPSPAMS savings account or was donated by the community members. Since the procurement of the new water pump, BPSPAMS Tirta Sari Mukti has fulfill the clean water needs for the 656 customer families. 

The service improvements and additional household connections increase the income of BPSPAMS Tirta Sari Mukti. On average, the monthly gross revenue of this local water provider is around Rp 16.000.000. From this revenue, the amount of Rp 1.800.000 to pay for the loan installment to PD BPR BKK Pekalongan. According to Chairman Wahmidin, the financing from PD BPR BKK Pekalongan is a form of investment with a good purpose: to ensure the clean water access for the people in Jeruksari Village. They hope to access this financing in the future as they aspire to continue connecting the remaining hamlets in Jeruksari village. 

To learn more BPR BKK Pekalongan, please visit http://bprbkk-pekalongankab.co.id/

Photos: (Top) The BPSPAMS Tirta Sari Mukti team with Water.org Southeast Asia Senior Regional Manager Eva Taravilla. (Bottom) The aftermath of coastal flooding in the village.