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“Apat na Dapat” is the call from the Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman prioritizing four (4) areas of development to uplift the living conditions of ARMM communities. Food security, shelter with water and sanitation, electricity, and livelihood are the core of this development agenda.
On September 10, 2015, the Regional Economic and Development Planning Board (REDPB) approved Resolution No. 13 creating the Regional Sub-Committee on Water and Sanitation (RSCWS). The said sub-committee is the first ever regional body in the country that is tasked to oversee the implementation of Water and Sanitation programs and projects.
To date, RSCWS is developing its Six (6) Year Strategic Development Plan focusing on water and sanitation programs and projects through the convergence effort of the RSCWS member agencies together with the partner organizations, A Single Drop for Safe Water (ASDSW) and UNICEF, during the sub-committee workshop held on October 20-21, 2016 at the Ritz Hotel, Garden Oases, Davao City. The workshop was spearheaded by the Office of the Regional Governor (ORG), as Committee Chair, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) as co-chair, and assisted by the Regional Planning and Development Office (RPDO).
During the workshop, the RSCWS reviewed the status of water and sanitation, and identified each member agencies’ roles with respect to the Three Pillars: Demand Creation, Supply Capacity, and Governance Ability. With these, the sub-committee will expectedly overcome issues and bottlenecks on water and sanitation to strengthen and empower local government units (LGUs) as well as meet the needs of their constituents. RPDO Executive Director Engr. Baintan A. Ampatuan stated that unsafe water and unsanitary facilities have been some of the major problems in the region. She further emphasized the importance of water and sanitation. Accordingly, there is no peace of mind in the absence of proper hygiene and potable water.
“There is a fine line between the usage of water as cooking and drinking, and as bathing and garbage dumping. With the sub-committee on water and sanitation in the ARMM, we can now change the lifestyle of the poorest of the poor. . From unclean to potable water, from unsanitary to hygienic facilities, and from remote watersheds to accessible and improved watersheds and systems, we can uplift their living conditions, reduce water-borne diseases as well as decrease poverty incidence,” Engr. Ampatuan added.
In line with the regional government’s initiatives, ASDSW together with UNICEF provide financial and technical assistance to the RSCWS as part of the ongoing long term support through the improvement in the delivery of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) services. Mr. Kevin Lee, ASDSW Executive Director, stressed that the workshop showed that the Autonomous Regional Government is acknowledging that WaSH is a basic human right and poverty alleviation issue.
“The regional government by creating this focal point, building achievable plans that address issues and bottlenecks associated with what has failed in the past, and leveraging initiatives that have been made at municipal and provincial level represents a turning point for WaSH in ARMM which is critically lagging other regions in Mindanao,” Executive Director Lee expressed.
Atty. Noor Hafizullah Abdullah, DILG Executive Director, and RSCWS co-chair and head of the technical secretariat emphasized the importance of the 6-Year Strategic Development Plan of the RSCWS. “One of the region’s goals is to have an inclusive growth and poverty reduction with improved access to clean water and water facilities. Water, Sanitation and Hygiene are essential to protect health, and life, as a whole, by reducing water-related diseases through proper implementation of programs and projects. The Strategic Development Plan is our key in identifying those WatSan initiatives in accordance to the needs of the localities. We also need the full participation of the LGUs which is very vital because they are our gateways to the local beneficiaries”, he stressed.
The RSCWS is one of the sub-committees under the Regional Development Administration Committee (RDAC) of the REDPB that aims to provide better support and guidance to local partners through capacity building, resource mobilization, technical support, knowledge sharing and management interventions on water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH).
Two (2) staff from A Single Drop for Safe Water, Inc joined Oxfam and PDRRN team on a Rapid Assessment of damages brought by Typhoon Lawin (international name HAIMA) which ravaged the provinces of Cagayan, Apayao and Isabela starting midnight to early dawn of October 20, 2016. The team set out from manila on October 20, 2016 at 5:00 in the morning and reached Cauayan, Isabela at 5:00 in the afternoon.
Typhoon Lawin with a radius of 800 km and a maximum winds of up to 225 km/h and gustiness of up to 315 km/hr made landfall in Penablanca, Cagayan, devastating livelihood and property along its path. It is classified a super typhoon which affected almost all provinces of Luzon to as far south as Cavite and Batangas, including Metro Manila.
The team assessed the damages brought by the typhoon in the provinces of Isabela going through the municipalities of Delfin Albano and San Pablo. A team tried to assess the Sto. Tomas and Sta. Maria but was unable to due to damaged bridges rendering the towns inaccessible at this time. Other provinces assessed were Apayao in the municipalities of Conner and Kabugao, and the province of Cagayan assessing the city of Tuguegarao and the towns of Baggao and Lal-lo. It is apparent at the end of the 7-day assessment that affected provinces will need lots of assistance in livelihood and shelter. Water sources also needs development support to ensure safe water for the residents of the affected provinces.
The degree of devastation may be glimpsed in the following story:
Marites Cabag, a resident of Baggao, Cagayan shared her experience with Typhoon Lawin: When the typhoon came, it was around 12 midnight. The water rose and I knew we had to leave. My house was made of wood. My eldest son said he wanted to stay, but I said it was better for us to evacuate so we would be safe. We went to our neighbor on the other side of the street. The next day, we saw that our house was totally destroyed. All our appliances – our TV, refrigerator, electric fan – even our guitar, durabox, kitchenwares and clothes were scattered on the ground. I went in and picked up our clothes. Those were all we had. Our neighbors saw what happened and helped us build a makeshift house made from the wood from our old home. —(shared from Oxfam sa Pilipinas FB page)
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.