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A total of 37 valiant men and women from Capiz and Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao underwent training on “Managing WaSH in Emergencies” sponsored by Financial Enablers and UNICEF respectively. The training in Roxas City, Capiz on September 20-22, 2016 was participated by 9 staff from A Single Drop for Safe Water, 3 from the International Medical Corps and sole emergency responder from the People’s Disaster Risk Reduction Network.
The training for the ARMM was conducted in General Santos City on September 27-29, 2016 participated by LGU staff coming from the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Tawi-tawi, Marawi City, Basilan, Lamitan City, Sulu, Maguindanao, Office of the Regional Governor, DILG-ARMM and DSWD for a total of 12 men and 10 women participants.
The participants were especially equipped in the area of WaSH intervention during emergencies, focusing on emergency measures in providing proper water, sanitation and hygiene solutions in Evacuation Centers or other displaced communities. Trainers come from DOH, Save the Children and A Single Drop for Safe Water. The training in Capiz is funded by Financial Enablers Project and the training in Capiz is funded by UNICEF.
The Local Government Unit of New Bataan continues to execute its Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Development Plan with the ground breaking for a new water system on August 18, 2016 at 9 00 AM in Barangay San Roque. The water system will supply a targeted 11,800 residents of the barangay, to be completed by November 2016 at a cost of Php 11,723,106.00. . The Plan developed in 2014 with the assistance of A Single Drop for Safe Water inc. (ASDSW) prioritized projects to meet the Water and Sanitation needs of typhoon affected communities and actively sought resources. Current Mayor Geraldford N. Balbin said “We are very grateful for the effort and assistance of ASDSW and the LDS Charities of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for responding positively to our proposal. This project will surely touch the lives of the NHA housing beneficiaries, knowing that water is life.” Latter Day Saints Charities agreed to supply materials and other essential services to augment funding from the Local Government Unit to construct the water system.
This system will be managed by San Roque Water and Sanitation Association (SANROWASA) that has managed an existing Barangay Water system since 2014 for 120 households. As part of the project, ASDSW (A development organization that develops customized programs to help communities realize that water and sanitation is a basic human right while building capacities in LGU’s and service providers for effective water and sanitation service delivery) will continue its partnership with the LGU and SANROWASA to strengthen the management capacity of the project’s operation and maintenance group upon its completion, and ensure efficient water service delivery. ASDSW Executive Director Kevin Lee says “New Bataan demonstrates that Water and Sanitation is about people, not infrastructure. A proactive local government with participative planning has followed through, with tangible results that will improve the quality of lives in its constituency”.
The Local Government Unit through its Municipal WaSH Task Force headed by former Mayor Lorenzo L. Balbin Jr. spearheaded the planning effort in partnership with ASDSW to develop the strategic plan, project design and proposal. Mr. Jairus Perez, Welfare Project Manager of the Latter Day Saints Charities quotes “We are grateful and excited to be part of this worthy clean water project in San Roque, New Bataan. LDS Charities’ goal is to help those in need. Our mission is to help others as God would have us do. We try as much as we can to relieve suffering. We support programs that meet specific needs and encourage self-reliance, service, and sustainability. We encourage beneficiaries to participate. I can see that this New Bataan project meets all these objectives.”
A Single Drop for Safe Water, Inc. (ASDSW), the municipality of New Bataan, San Roque Water Service Association (SANROWASA) and the Latter-day Saints Charities signs Memorandum of Agreement for the construction of a Level III Water System in Compostela Valley.
On June 9, 2016, the four (4) parties signed a memorandum of agreement in Manila: Latter-day Saints Charities (LDSC) as the donor, A Single Drop for Safe Water (ASDSW), Inc. as project technical implementer in collaboration with the municipality of the New Bataan and the San Roque Water Service Association for the systems operation and maintenance. The project aims to benefit 2,360 households with 11,800 individuals in the relocation site for families affected by Typhoon Pablo in 2012 and will be implemented from July to October 2016.
LDSC is a non-profit domestic corporation while ASDSW is another non-profit organization specializing in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. SANROWASA on the other hand is a local water service association which was previously trained and capacitated by ASDSW to manage a small water service operation.
New Bataan was among the municipalities heavily devastated by Typhoon Pablo in December 4, 2012. Two (2) Barangays namely Bgys. Andap and Cabinuangan, were severely damaged and affected families need to be relocated. ASDSW will strengthen and capacitate SANROWASA officials to formulate and put in place sustainability mechanism for this much bigger systems operation and maintenance. The MLGU, through its Municipal WaSH Task Force will serve as the oversight body for the project.
This project is the result of the Local Government Unit’s development planning for the Water and Sanitation sector and their implementation of governance structures to support WaSH within their recovery and development planning efforts. The project will be implemented for 4 months, from July to November, 2016.
UNICEF, being an active partner of the Government of the Philippines and civil society in achieving the Millennium Development Goals granted funds anew to A Single Drop for Safe Water to continue gains achieved in the provinces of Capiz, Sultan Kudarat, the ARMM Regional Hub in Mindanao and the National WaSH cluster. The new partners’ cooperation agreement focuses on institutionalizing the Phased Approach to Total Sanitation (PhATS) in these vulnerable regions and working with the ARMM Regional government in strengthening governance linkages, capacity and policy development, in conjunction with National government Agencies.
ASDSW has been working in central Mindanao since 2007 particularly in WaSH governance. Work in Capiz started in 2014. . Since then, governance situation in these provinces has significantly changed with the LGUs prioritizing WaSH, crafting their WaSH governance programs and providing funds for WaSH projects and activities.
Leveraging on WaSH gains from previous projects, ASDSW will continue to work in institutionalizing PhATS and assisting the LGUs to formulate strategic WaSH development programs to include WaSH in Schools and Child Development Centers, working with the Department of Education, attaining higher level of implementation for rural sanitation, working with the Department of Health for certification and verification of Zero Open Defecation (ZOD) barangays, while at the same time supporting capacity and policy development for LGUs in terms of governance, demand creation and supply side interventions for WaSH.
The Mindanao project will be implemented for 12 months and covers the municipalities of Lebak and Kalamansig in Sultan Kudarat. The project in Capiz will cover all the 16 municipalities and Roxas City, working from the municipal and the provincial level of governance and will be implemented for a period of 9 months.
THE WATSAN HUB
It is composed of at least three cooperating institutions, to be managed by the WATSAN Regional Hub Coordinating Council, composed of the heads of the member institutions. Its lead agency is the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). It is an effort of the government to harness and maximize local resources through the availability and willingness of experts, trainers and facilitators who would help DILG in capacitating waterless municipalities in the operation and management of their water supply and sanitation services under the Sagana at Ligtas na Tubig (SALINTUBIG) Program. It operates in the principle that “Water is a RIGHT. Water is LIFE. Without water life is FUTILE.”
HOW WAS ASDSW INVOLVED IN WATSAN HUB FORMATION IN ARMM?
ASDSW and DILG National office have been coordinating for some years now with regards to their program and activities and sharing of information on WaSH governance, noting the comparison between DILG’s MW4SP approach and ASDSW’s governance model. DILG became aware of ASDSW’s extensive WaSH projects implemented in Mindanao and suggested for ASDSW to join the WatSan Hub in ARMM.Thus, in 2014, ASDSW applied as WatSan hub member in ARMM at the DILG National Office.
Following ASDSW’s WatSan hub application, coordination and follow through activities were conducted in ARMM. It was learned that WatSan hub in ARMM was formed with only two (2) members: the WAO water district and Marawi State University. ASDSW would be the 3rd potential member. During this period, the WatSan hub is not yet very functional.
May 27, 2015- DILG-ARMM and ASDSW spearheaded a convergence meeting with potential members, advocating the functionality of the WatSan Hub in ARMM and building partnerships among WaSH implementers. The meeting was held in Cotabato City and attended by representatives from the Academe, CSOs, Service providers, government line agencies, UNICEF and other NGOs. There were sharing of specializations, programs and activities implemented in their respective covered areas among the participants. At the conclusion of the meeting, the DILG invited interested organizations to submit application for WATSAN hub membership. However, several months passed but no other organizations submitted an application.
Following the convergence meeting and the continuous coordination between ASDSW and DILG regarding issues and concerns on WaSH implementation in Mindanao, it was decided to raise the issue, specifically on Hub formation to the ARMM Regional Planning and development Office (RPDO). So, in August 6, 2015, the matter was presented to the RPDO during their regular meeting. Also in attendance during this meeting were representatives from UNICEF, ASDSW, DILG, ACF, IOM, GIZ, CRS, KFI, CFSI and CEMILARDEF.
During this coordination meeting with DILG and RPDO, several realizations were acknowledged:
- Lack of a regional structure that shall oversee implementation of WATSAN projects in the region. DPWH has so many projects being implemented in ARMM but are not coordinated with DILG.
- Local task forces are not sustainable for the purpose of strengthening and institutionalizing the WatSan hub.
- Water projects fail due to lack of accountability and knowledge in proper operation and management of the installed projects
- WatSan hub is not functional and not part of the government organization under the REDPB.
With these realizations, DILG suggested the creation of the sub-committee within the Regional Executive Development and Planning Board (REDPB) under the umbrella of the Regional Development Administrative Committee for it to be institutionalized and recognized within the ARMM structure. There are several agreements gained during the RPDO meeting:
- Member composition of the WatSan hub committee was set: Government agencies were identified as members and NGOs were identified as project partners.
- After the RPDO meeting, DILG will meet with prospective members, and ASDSW/UNICEF will meet with prospective partners to: – explain the plan to form a regional sub-committee for WaSH; and – conduct inventory of WaSH projects in ARMM
- Motion to create the Regional sub-committee on WaSH, and Motion to make the sub-committee a part of the ARMM government structure making it more sustainable, and the proposal to elevate the motions to the Regional Development Administration Committee (RDAC) for adoption and endorsement to the REDPB.
Separate meetings with prospective members and partners were conducted to generate information and mapping of WaSH projects in ARMM, and to generate consensus for the creation of the WatSan regional sub-committee. Results of these meetings are affirmative.
On September 10, 2015, the creation of RSCW was presented to the member of the REDPB. As a result, the Board passed a resolution approving the creation of RSCWS under the supervision of the RDAC, and on October 19, 2015 – the ARMM REDPB finally approved the creation of RSCW with the following composition:
Chair : Office of the Regional Governor
Co-Chair : DILG-ARMM
Secretariat : DILG-ARMM
Members : DOH, DepEd, DPWH, DAR, DSWD, DAF, DENR, DOST, RPDO, HLURB and BPI
Partner Agencies :UNICEF, ASDSW, SC, Oxfam, MTB, CRS, MCWD, LGUs, USAID, WFP (on invitation basis)
The new structure of the REDPB showing RSCWS under the RDAC
The Regional Sub-committee on WaSH will serve as coordinating and monitoring body of DILG-ARMM that will oversee implementation of WatSan Projects in the region. It aims to achieve more coordinated efforts on the implementation of WatSan Projects and contribute to the Millennium Goal no.7 of ensuring environmental sustainability in ARMM. It will have specific functions as follows:
- Coordinate, monitor and evaluate WatSan projects in the region.
- Provide technical assistance, empower and capacitate LGUs.
- Create a pool of trainers.
- Facilitate the establishment of WatSan database
- Document best practices in WatSan development.
- Perform such related functions as may be authorized by the REDPB/RDAC
There are distinct function between the Regional WatSan Hub and the Regional Sub-committee on WaSH. The Regional WatSan Hub serves as the information hub for capacity development through seminar-workshops, coaching and mentoring and other relevant trainings for LGUs, Water Service Providers and community organizations, and the engagement of individual resource persons/consultants to assist in the preparation and delivery of the programs. On the other hand, the RSCW will serve in the formulation of policies and plans of the LGUs in water and sanitation sector and establish the policies and directions for the implementation of the program at the local level. This development is very significant, not just in WaSH development in the region but it strengthens the legitimacy of the ARMM because the change in the direction in the WaSH sectoral planning was set by the ARMM Regional government, making it a monumental move towards self-governance and precipitating development in the region.
This direction ties up with the ASDSW governance model which involves participation of the communities from the barangay to municipal to Provincial level, and in the case of ARMM, up to the Regional level of governance.
Along the line of harmonization with DILG and ASDSW program, ASDSW is striving for the program outputs to fit in with DILG’s Human rights-Based WatSan governance approach. Projects developed in WaSH planning facilitated by ASDSW can be submitted by LGUs for SALINTUBIG or GPBP funding.
DILG is actively trying to implement “Ring Fencing with 130 organizations oriented and 3 implemented. ASDSW facilitates LGU training on ring fencing. It maybe possible for ASDSW to bid on capacity development work. The DILG, through the SDGF PRO-WATER Program may tap ASDSW as resource speakers for various activities and DILG may tap the expertise of the Hub members to consult and be paid by LGUs for development capacity.
It’s often said that change is the only constant in life. Yet humans are evolutionarily predisposed to resist change because of the risk associated with it. Despite this resistance to change, it is more important than ever.
ASDSW is building the capacity of self-reliant partnerships to plan, implement, and manage community-driven clean water and sanitation solutions through sustainable organizational strategies, WASH Education, and appropriate technologies.
See all open positions here
When super-typhoon Bopha struck without warning before dawn, flattening the walls of their home, Maria Amparo Jenobiagon, her two daughters and her grandchildren ran for their lives.
The storm on 4 December was the worst ever to hit the southern Philippines: torrential rain turned New Bataan’s river into a raging flood. Roads were washed away and the bridge turned into an enormous dam. Tens of thousands of coconut trees crashed down in an instant as unbelievably powerful winds struck. The banana crop was destroyed in a flash – and with it the livelihoods of hundreds of farmers.
The only safe place the family could think of was the concrete grandstand at the village sports stadium. Two months later, Jenobiagon, 36, and her three-year-old granddaughter, Mary Aieshe, are still there, living in one of the improvised tents spanning its steep concrete tiers along with hundreds of other people.
“We were terrified. All we could hear was loud crashing. We didn’t know what to do. So we came here,” Jenobiagon said. “Everyone ran to the health centre but houses were being swept away and the water was neck deep. Everywhere we went was full of mud and water. We went to a school but it was flooded, so we came to the stadium.”
Lorenzo Balbin, the mayor of New Bataan, said the fury of the storm was far beyond the experience of anyone living in Mindanao. It would take 10 years to replace the coconut crop, he said. Some villages in Compostela Valley may be too unsafe to live in.
Bopha, known locally as Pablo, broke records as well as hearts. At its height, it produced wind speeds of 160mph, gusting to 195mph. It was the world’s deadliest typhoon in 2012, killing 1,067 people, with 800 left missing. More than 6.2 million people were affected; the cost of the damage may top $1bn. As a category 5 storm (the highest), Bopha was significantly more powerful than hurricane Katrina (category 3), which hit the US in 2005, and last year’s heavily publicised hurricane Sandy (category 2).
With an estimated 216,000 houses destroyed or damaged, tens of thousands of people remain displaced, presenting a challenge for the government and aid agencies.
The lack of international media coverage of Bopha may in part be explained – though not excused – by western-centric news values, and in part by the high incidence of storms in the Pacific region.
The Philippines experiences an average of 20 typhoons a year (including three super-typhoons) plus numerous incidents of flooding, drought, earthquakes and tremors and occasional volcanic eruptions, making it one of the most naturally disaster-prone countries in the world.
But more disturbing than Bopha’s size was the fact that it appeared to reflect rapidly deteriorating climatic trends.
The five most devastating typhoons recorded in the Philippines have occurred since 1990, affecting 23 million people. Four of the costliest typhoons anywhere occurred in same period, according to an Oxfam report. What is more, Bopha hit an area where typhoons are all but unknown.
The inter-governmental panel on climate change says mean temperatures in the Philippines are rising by 0.14C per decade. Since the 1980s, there has been an increase in annual mean rainfall. Yet two of the severest droughts ever recorded occurred in 1991-92 and 1997-98.
Scientists are also registering steadily rising sea levels around the Philippines, and a falling water table. All this appears to increase the likelihood and incidence of extreme weather events while adversely affecting food production and yields through land erosion and degradation, analysts say.
Mary Ann Lucille Sering, head of the Philippine government’s climate change commission, is in no doubt her country faces a deepening crisis that it can ill afford, financially and in human terms. Typhoon-related costs in 2009, the year the commission was created, amounted to 2.9% of GDP, she said, and have been rising each year since then.
“Extreme weather is becoming more frequent, you could even call it the new normal,” Sering said. “Last year one typhoon [Bopha] hurt us very much. If this continues we are looking at a big drain on resources.” Human activity-related “slow onset impacts” included over-fishing, over-dependence on certain crops, over-extraction of ground water, and an expanding population (the Philippines has about 95 million people and a median age of 23).
“Altogether this could eventually lead to disaster,” Sering said. Unlike countries such as Britain, where changing weather has a marginal impact on most people’s lives, climate change in the Philippines was “like a war”. Opinion surveys showed that Filipinos rated global warming as a bigger threat than rising food and fuel prices, she said.
Even given this level of awareness, Bopha presented an enormous test for emergency services. Oxfam workers in Davao City, working with the UN, local NGO partners, and the government’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), quickly moved to the area to offer assistance. Oxfam has committed $2m in Bopha relief funds on top of its annual $4m Philippines budget. But the UN-co-ordinated Bopha Action Plan, which set an emergency funding target of $76m, has received only $27m so far.
The overall post-Bopha response has comprised three phases: immediate help, including the provision of shelter and clean water, sanitation and hygiene facilities; rebuilding and relocation; and mitigation and prevention measures.
“The first thing was to provide water bladders to the evacuation centre in New Bataan. We concentrated on providing emergency toilets and water systems,” said Kevin Lee, response manager for the Humanitarian Response Consortium, a group of five local NGOs. “We had a 15-strong team from Oxfam and the HRC, digging holes and putting in plastic pipes. Next we started looking at emergency food and shelter.
“The devastation was worse than anything I have ever seen. Up to 90% of the coconut trees were just flattened. That’s the local economy on the ground. And that’s really difficult to fix quickly,” Lee said. But his team’s swift action had positive results, he added. There have been no water-borne diseases in New Bataan and no outbreak of cholera.
The consortium has now moved on to longer-term projects such as building a waste management plant, setting up markets at relocation sites, and working on disaster risk reduction programmes, so that when the next typhoon hits, local people may be better prepared.
The Lumbia resettlement project outside Cagayan de Oro, in northern Mindanao, provides an example of what can be achieved. Here, victims of tropical storm Washi, which swept through the area in 2011, killing 1,200 people and causing nearly $50m in damage, have been offered newly-built homes on land owned by the local university.
The Lumbia project’s slogan is “build a community, not just homes”, and it has gone down well with displaced villagers. “It’s better here than before. It’s more elevated, we don’t have to worry about floods,” said Alexie Colibano, a Lumbia resident. “Before we were living on an island in the river. Now we feel more secure.”
About 15,000 Bopha victims remain in evacuation centres, including in the New Bataan stadium grandstand. In total, about 200,000 are still living with friends or relatives.
In Manila, meanwhile, Benito Ramos, the outgoing executive director of the NDRRMC, is busy planning for the next super-typhoon. “We are preparing for a national summit this month on how to prepare, including early warning, building codes, land use regulations, geo-hazard mapping, relocation and livelihoods,” he said.
But the bigger issue is climate change, which posed an “existential threat” to the Philippines, Ramos said. “We are mainstreaming climate change in all government departments and policies. If we don’t adapt and adjust, we all agree we are heading for disaster.”