By JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL
COTABATO CITY — A Bangsamoro lawmaker filed a bill aimed at promoting clean water, including safe drinking water while preserving and restoring water resources through an effective water quality management system.
Bangsamoro Transition Authority Bill No. 176, also known as the Safe Drinking Water Act of 2022, principally authored by Member of the Parliament Amilbahar Mawallil, is intended to protect human health, prevent drinking water health hazards, and protect, preserve, and revive the quality of fresh, brackish, and marine waters in the region.
“Decades of armed conflict and government neglect have made access to clean water in the region a luxury,” said MP Mawallil.
He added that the establishment of BARMM presents an opportunity to correct the decades of the inaction of the government to address this perennial problem and lauded the Bangsamoro government’s distribution of desalination machines in the island provinces, which convert marine water to freshwater.
Under the proposed bill, the Bangsamoro Water Resources Board will be created to formulate policies and coordinate programs related to the water sector in the region.
Among others, the Board will be the main body that will formulate policies and plans, coordinate the planning, monitoring, and evaluation of programs, and regulate the utilization and allocation of water resources in the region.
“It is imperative that we, as members of the BTA, institutionalize mechanisms to ensure that our water resources are not only preserved but are restored even as we pursue economic development for our region,” said MP Mawallil.
In the proposed measure, a comprehensive Bangsamoro Water Quality Management System will be developed to guide the BWRB in managing the designated Water Quality Management Areas.
The Public Works Ministry will also be tasked to coordinate with the Board and the local government units to prepare regional and local programs on sewerage and septage management.
Also in the proposed measure is implementing a wastewater charge system through collecting a fee based on a payment for discharging wastewater into the water bodies, including Lake Lanao.
Rewards, monetary or otherwise, will also be provided to individuals, private organizations, and entities that have undertaken outstanding and innovative projects, technologies, processes, and techniques or activities in water quality management. (JIJ)