MWSS’ Salamat: ‘I will resign’ if water crisis unsolved
Environmental Coalition Green Convergence held the 354th installment of the monthly Kamayan Para sa Kalikasan Forum about the status of water security in the country on September 20, 2019 (Friday) at Kamayan Restaurant, EDSA, Mandaluyong City.
Energy Development Corporation CEO Federico Lopez explained that the country’s water security problem is part of the ongoing global climate crisis. He said, “Shrinking glaciers will impact freshwater supply…Sea level rise and flooding will intrude aquifers.”
He noted that even without the effects of climate change, Metro Manila is still vulnerable due to very delayed flood control projects. He stressed, “There is a lot of ground subsidence…If water extraction continues.”
On the other hand, retired Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Salamat, Administrator of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), in defense of the government’s initiatives said, “Measures have been adopted by MWSS to strengthen Angat Dam which was constructed in 1967 and other water structures to make these earthquake-resilient, for any damage to it will affect water supply, food supply, public safety, and energy resource especially in Metro Manila.”
Salamat promised to resign from his position if his leadership does not solve the water crisis that the metropolis is currently facing.
Alternative solutions were also provided by the forum’s speakers. Lopez recommended that the government must invest in research to develop a technology to utilize the abundant rainwater that the country receives.
Network for Sustainable Water’s Paolo Pagaduan emphasized, “Ang daling sabihin na kailangan nating magpatayo ng bagong ganito, bagong ganyan (It is easy to say that we need to build new this, new that),” when the problem is the people’s excessive consumption of water.
Pagaduan cited Seattle in the United States, where despite the city’s increasing population, water demand stays the same. He exclaimed, “We can reduce consumption to a more manageable level that is acceptable.”
In addition, a tribute to the late environmental champion and former DENR Secretary Gina Lopez was also given. Dr. Angelina Galang of Green Convergence and Dr. Carlo Garcia of the Miriam College Environmental Studies Institute partnered and pledged to plant 65 trees in Barangay Laiban, Tanay, Rizal in honor of the 65 years of life of the champion.
Galang described Lopez, “In the firmament of the environmental movement, she is the supernova, the brightest of all…Probably, a lot of us here became better because of her.”
“Siguraduhin natin na ang mga punla, binhi na inilagay niya [Gina Lopez] ay patuloy na magbunga (We must ensure that the seeds she placed must continue to grow),” Jaybee Garganera of Alyansa Tigil Mina said.
“Mining, coal, [and] small island ecosystems; she wanted these issues to be at the forefront of the 2016 elections,” he added.
Since March 1990, Kamayan Para Sa Kalikasan Forum has become an institutionalized platform that enables NGO and government representatives, the media, students, teachers, church groups, and concerned citizens to discuss pressing environmental issues in the country. This month’s forum is organized by Green Convergence and is supported by Kamayan Restaurant EDSA with the assistance of the Forest Foundation Philippines.
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