Amid reported cholera cases in parts of the country, the House of Representatives has pledged to increase funding for water and sanitation facilities.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Joey Sarte Salceda said the lower house is committed to increasing access to clean water and sanitation through more sanitation system projects. water supply.
“We are committed to increasing funds for water and sanitation facilities. At present, the 2023 budget foresees around P5.28 billion spent on water systems under the DPWH budget. We will do more,” Salceda said.
On Sunday, Senator Jinggoy Estrada pushed through Senate Resolution 266 for a Senate investigation into increasing reports of cholera outbreaks in various parts of the country, and cited Ministry of Health data. Health (DOH) of a 282% increase in cases since January. This year.
Salceda said the Department of Budget and Management is currently reviewing recommendations from members of Congress in funding the Local Government Unit Allocations or ALGU element programs.
“It’s 63 billion pesos this year, and we will recommend that more water systems be funded,” the Albay lawmaker added.
Citing data from the DOH, Salceda said that from 976 cholera cases were recorded from January to October last year, to 3,729 during the same period in 2022, saying most of the cases came from the Eastern Visayas. , the Davao and Caraga regions.
Similarly, Central Luzon, Western Visayas and Eastern Visayas exceeded epidemic thresholds for cholera during the same period.
“Cholera cases are on the rise around the world, in part due to flooding caused by climate change. So we are no exception. But cholera is completely preventable, largely with clean water and proper sewage systems. We are committed to funding more during the budget process,” Salceda said.
Salceda said water supply systems could also be funded by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (NDRRMF).
“There is an empirical link between floods and cholera cases. Water supply can be impaired by flooding,” he said.
“The water supply also tends to be quite difficult in disaster areas. Admittedly, access to drinking water is also a disaster management measure, particularly in evacuation centres,” he added.
With this, Salceda argued that a large portion of the NDRRMF of 31 billion pesos in the 2023 budget should be spent on water systems at evacuation centers and relocation sites.
“These systems can also be used year-round by the communities around them,” he said.
“We will aim for 20 billion pesos to be spent on water systems from the national government share in the 2023 budget. From DPWH [Department of Public Works and Highways], ALGU, NDRRMF and other allowances. This eventually includes increasing the allocation of 5.28 billion pesos in the DPWH for water systems. This is an unfolding national crisis and the budget must be responsive,” Salceda said.
The lawmaker also said the House Ways and Means Committee would also work with the Appropriations Committee to see if “the measures passed under my leadership of the committee can help fund more water facilities.”
“Among the items I’m looking at are the 20% of revenue earmarked for Sustainable Development Goals from the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) Tax Act, and the same item from the Excise Duty Act. alcohol and taxes on vaping. Drinking water and sanitation, after all, is goal number 6 of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals),” he added.