Baguio City Congressman supports policy recommendations of ICLEI-commissioned study on water security

UP Baguio study team presents results of ICLEI-commissioned water security study to Baguio City Congressman Mark Go (first from right) and Baguio City Government. Photo by: UP Baguio

Baguio City Congressman Marquez Go expressed support to forward policy recommendations of the ICLEI-commissioned study on water security during a meeting held at the University of the Philippines Baguio (UP Baguio) last February 10.

The study, titled“Engaging Communities and the City Government in Addressing Water Security, Sanitation and Urban Resilience Challenges in Baguio City, ”focused on analyzing the domestic water use of Baguio City's poor households with an aim to understand water access and utilization. Results showed that poor households tend to rely on free water sources such as springs, creeks, and rainwater despite the uncertainty of water quality.

Ms. Cordelia Lacsamana, City Environment and Parks Management Officer of Baguio City, emphasized the need to strongly implement the Baguio City Water Code as well as the City Environment Code in order to address water security concerns. She further explained the need for stronger coordination with other city departments such as the City Health Office because water concerns cut across the mandates of different offices. On the other hand, Prof. Lorelei Mendoza of UP Baguio highlighted the need to harmonize legislation at the national and local level, particularly in terms of regulation and release of permits which are mandates of the National Water Resources Board (NWRB).

Congressman Go said that one of his priorities is to strengthen the BLISTT, a metropolitan area comprised of Baguio City and five other municipalities under Benguet Province namely La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba, and Tublay. He recognized that the issue of water security can affect other urban development concerns, particularly tourism and infrastructure. The legislator also expressed support in elevating some of the study's policy recommendations to the Congress.

The policy recommendations covered provisions on rainwater harvesting and water purification, improving water quality and safety standards, enhancing the regulation of water extraction activities, and strengthening the provisions of Baguio City's Water Code.

This study was completed last November 2016 and was conducted by select faculty members of the College of Social Sciences (CSS) in UP Baguio. It was supported through the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN) Engagement Building Small Grants funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and managed by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability Southeast Asia Secretariat (ICLEI SEAS).

The ICLEI-ACCCRN Engagement Building Small Grants Fund seeks to encourage the formation of genuine and sustained partnerships between the cities and key external stakeholders by supporting specific stakeholder engagement activities or small innovative projects to test the feasibility of resilience-building strategies.

Download the full report here.

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