PWRA to regulate Cebu’s water resources, address water depletion

Cebu Provincial Water Resources Authority (PWRA) Executive Director Edgar Sibonga is optimistic that the Province’s water ordinance would be completed within a year.

During the PWRA meeting held on Tuesday, Sibonga said the water agency adhered to the methodical approach in crafting the policy where the provision would reflect the local stakeholder’s practices and conditions.

Sibonga said the ordinance, which aims to ensure the protection and management of Cebu’s water resources, will be submitted before the Provincial Board between the months of June to August 2017.

“I think we could finish the draft by June or August. But we will try to fast-track the process,” Sibonga said in an interview during the break of their monthly meeting on Tuesday.
Asked if the PWRC has encountered any difficulties in crafting the guidelines, Sibonga said that “so far there was none”, adding that they are forming a special committee, mostly composed of lawyers who are experts in legislation.

The committee will help examine any potential legal problem over the water policy, said Sibonga.

“The special committee will only be formed after we finish the final draft. Its main task is to ensure our output is in consonance with the legal standards,” Sibonga pointed out.

Last March, Governor Hilario P. Davide III activated the PWRA under PB Ordinance 2006-12 to perform duties such as appropriating, developing, utilizing water resources of the province.

Davide also allocated an initial P5 million for the agency in preparation for the said water policy.

Sibonga revealed that they are seriously looking at PD 1067 or the Philippine Water Code and the water code of Davao as models for the water policy of Cebu.

However, he explained that these codes were crafted with the intent to address the specific needs of Davao province and as policy guidelines for the national government. Davao is the first City that localized the National Water Code.

“Major changes in the provisions are necessary to make them suitable to the conditions and needs of the Cebuanos,” added Sibonga.

Moreover, PWRA is in the process of coming up with programs that respond to water-related problems and conditions of water sources including plans to avoid depletion of water supply in the province. (Kelvin Canizares)