Senate panel opens talks on creation of water agency


    THE Senate committee on public services will conduct a hearing today on proposed measures to establish a central water agency that will focus on water, sewerage and sanitation.

    Sen. Grace Poe, chairwoman of the Senate committee on public services, the hearing will be jointly conducted by the committees on civil service, government reorganization and professional regulation, ways and means and finance.

    “We need a lead agency whose ultimate responsibility would be the provision of adequate and safe water supply, not just for household and commercial needs, but for our farms.

    What we currently have is a fragmented regulatory framework for water that has limited powers, which has a significant impact on the delivery of water and sanitation services in the country,” Poe said.

    She said the hearing will tackle the eight bills pending before the committee seeking the creation of a water agency. These were filed by Poe, Senators Ralph Recto, Franklin Drilon, Manual Lapid and Ramon Revilla Jr.

    It will also discuss the three bills proposing the creation of a Department of Water Resources Management filed by Senators Manny Pacquiao, Francis Tolentino and Ronald dela Rosa.

    Poe said the hearing will provide senators an opportunity to raise questions about the government contracts with water concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water.