40 Mn Filipinos Have No Access To Potable Water: Govt

(MENAFN- IANS) Manila, May 7 (IANS) At least 40 million people in the Philippines have no access to fresh or potable water, the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) said on Tuesday.

Responding to the dire situation, Philippine President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos has directed the government agencies to come up with concrete solutions to provide sufficient water supply to Filipinos deprived of potable water, Xinhua news agency reported.

"Let's come up with a plan for the 40 million so that they have at least potable water to take in. We need to come up with a plan for the remaining 40 million who do not have an assured water supply -- a locally sourced water supply," the PCO said, quoting Marcos' order.

The PCO said Marcos stressed the need for the government to focus on the 40 million underserved Filipinos and to balance the water requirements for irrigation, household and industrial use.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga told Marcos that the 40 million residents who do not have enough access to water supply usually ride a motorbike to fetch water from the nearest island.

In a press briefing at the presidential palace, DENR Undersecretary Carlos Primo David said the department has devised a few strategies to provide sufficient water supply to the 40 million individuals who are primarily residing in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in the southern Philippines.

According to David, one promising strategy being considered for small island villages and other coastal areas is implementing the desalination process, a method that converts seawater into freshwater.

This initiative has the potential to improve the water supply in these areas significantly.

Sixty-five island villages have already been on the list to start the desalination process.

The Philippines, an archipelagic country, is water-stressed, with an annual average per capita water availability of 1,400 cubic metre, lower than the "normal" threshold of 1,700 cubic metre per capita per year.



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