As part of its commitment as Vice Chair of the Disaster Response of National Government, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) enters into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) and the Philippine Association of Water Districts, Inc. (PAWD) to bring potable water to disaster-affected communities and families.
Under the MOU, the three (3) signatories agreed to assure the public that adequate potable water supply will be provided to communities hit by emergencies or calamities.
The partnership was pursued by the DSWD as part of its mandate stipulated in the Philippine Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 or Republic Act No 10121 to coordinate, allocate, orchestrate, and monitor the provision of relief goods to disaster-affected areas.
Aside from family food packs as initial relief assistance, potable water can sometimes be a problem in the area affected by disasters. Recently, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) issued Memorandum Circular No. 02, s2020 mandating DSWD the authority to provide potable drinking water as part of its relief support to disaster-affected families.
With the agreement in place, the PAWD, which represents the Water Districts’ (WDs) commitment to accommodate and prioritize the purchase of potable water by the Department for distribution to disaster-affected families.
In order to implement this commitment, the WDs shall designate water outlets or hydrants which are accessible and suitable for filling of containers and tankers. The WD is also expected to ensure the quality of water potability withdrawn from the hydrants or reservoirs. Further, free water supply shall be provided by PAWD from the first three (3) days in the aftermath of disaster.
The LWUA, as an agency mandated to prescribe minimum standards and regulations in the water system operations, shall formulate and issue guidelines/policies to all WDs governing the release of water supply to the DSWD. LWUA shall also provide assistance to DSWD Field Offices (FOs) and partners in establishing a systematic mechanism in the distribution of potable water in disaster-affected areas such as evacuation centers, transitory shelters, among others; to include training on water safety and management of water facility and equipment.
With the partnership secured to be effective for five (5) years, the families affected by disasters can be assured of quality assistance and provision of their most basic needs during the most difficult times.