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DBM allocates P93.3-M for Bicol water projects

By Rhaydz B. Barcia


The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has allocated a budget of P93.3 million for water system projects in seven municipalities, classified as 4th and 5th class, within the Bicol Region. The towns benefiting from these projects are Jovellar and Malilipot in Albay; San Fernando in Camarines Sur; Panganiban in Catanduanes; Baleno in Masbate; Bulusan and Juban in Sorsogon.


Each of these municipalities is set to receive P13,333,333.00 for their respective water projects, totalling P93,333,333.00 for the fiscal year 2024. This allocation is part of a larger initiative by the DBM, where P1.0 billion has been earmarked for 75 municipalities nationwide to improve access to water projects.


Amenah F. Pangandaman, DBM Secretary, emphasized the unique approach of this project, incorporating participatory budgeting. This means both government officials and Civil Society Organizations will play a role in identifying, implementing, and monitoring the projects, aligning with the DBM's commitment to promoting open government.


Collaborating with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the launch of the Support and Assistance Fund to Participatory Budgeting (SAFPB) project aims to provide 75 municipalities with safely managed and resilient water supply and sanitation services.


For fiscal year 2024, eligible LGUs are determined based on income classes and the presence of LGU-managed water utilities with established plans, endorsed by accredited Civil Society Organizations and adopted by the LGU.


Highlighting the water challenges in Bicol, former DSWD regional director Arnel Garcia revealed that about 2.5 million Filipinos lack access to safe drinking water. In the region, 187,673 people face this issue, and 30 percent of over 5 million Bicolanos rely on dug wells for water.


In a global context, the United Nations high-level panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda noted that 2.5 billion people worldwide lack access to safe water. Michel Jarraud, UN Water and World Meteorological Organization secretary-general, emphasized the ongoing importance of research and development in addressing poverty, water, and energy challenges to ensure a sustainable future.

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