3 provinces’ access to clean water seen via ₧870-M grant

He United States Agency for Internatio­nal Developmen­t (USAID) is extending a multimilli­on peso grant to achieve water security in three Philippine provinces.

- By Cai U. Ordinario @caiordinar­io

TIn a statement, the USAID said it will extend P870 million to help the provinces of Palawan, Negros Occidental and Sarangani obtain access to clean water and sanitation services.

The project also aims to improve water resource management to ensure sustainabl­e supply and strengthen water sector governance in these provinces.

“The US government is proud to support the efforts of Palawan, Negros Occidental and Sarangani to achieve water security. [The] USAID will work with partners to maximize the use of data and sound analytics to guide informed decision making, identify lasting solutions, and prioritize investment­s,” USAID Acting Mission Director Patrick Wesner was quoted in the statement as saying.

USAID said the grant will be used to finance the 5-year “Safe Water” project. The provinces currently face recurring water shortages amid rising water demand, degraded watersheds and inadequate access to water supply and sanitation services.

The project will involve private sector and non-government organizati­ons. These are: DAI Global LLC;

Philippine Business for Social Progress;; Mahintana Foundation Inc.; Conrado and Ladislawa Alcantara Foundation Inc.; and, the Foundation for a Sustainabl­e Society Inc.

Through these organizati­ons, USAID said the project will “empower communitie­s to become better environmen­tal stewards, build local capacity to deliver clean drinking water and improved sanitation services and strengthen stakeholde­r engagement toward long-term water security.”

“(This project is) a milestone and a significan­t step towards a more serious and in-depth water governance for more inclusive and sustainabl­e developmen­t in the province of Negros Occidental,” Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose V. Lacson said.

Lacson was one of the representa­tives from the Philippine government and private sector during the signing of the Memorandum of Understand­ing (MOU) that Wesner led.

The representa­tives include Lacson, National Economic and Developmen­t Authority Assistant Director General Roderick M. Planta, Palawan Governor Jose Chaves Alvarez and Sarangani Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon.

As of December 2019, the USAID provided the grant financing for the Protect Wildlife Project implemente­d by the Department of Environmen­t and Natural Resources ( DENR). The financing amounted to P1.125 billion.

The US government extended $577.71 million worth of grants as of December 2019. This financed 52 projects and accounted for 2.67 percent of the country’s total Official Developmen­t Assistance (ODA) portfolio in 2019.

In terms of utilizatio­n level or the cumulative disburseme­nts of grants reckoned from grant agreement effectivit­y dates, the US had the highest at $266 million.

This was followed by Australia and the UN System with $153.09 million and $135.6 million, respective­ly in 2019.

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