P2.5 Billion Needed Yearly to Fund Water Supply Projects in Provinces

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The Arroyo government needs at least R2.5 billion annually for the next five years to finance water supply projects to improve the access of safe potable water for the people in the countryside, said the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), the governments lead national agency for provincial water supply development.

But LWUA Administrator Lorenzo H. Jamora said the question is where to get the money, particularly the local fund counterpart for foreign-assisted water projects, in view of the tight budgetary constraints of the national government and LWUA itself already over-reaching the limits of its equity capitalization and local borrowing capacity.Jamora said the LWUA has found allies in Congress after legislators have expressed willingness or at least interest to employ part of their annual development fund allocations, now known as the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), for provincial water supply in their respective areas in support of LWUAs program and the Presidents water agenda in general.It would be recalled that LWUA has written to members of both the House and Senate seeking assistance by way of including water supply among their list of priority projects for line-item budgeting and implementation starting this year.Jamora said his agency has been encouraged to seek the support of legislators following President Arroyos exhortation for the exclusive employment of the yearly congressional fund allocations for projects in line with her ten-point legacy program of which water supply for all barangays is one.Among those who have expressed willingness to help fund provincial water supply projects include Senators Mar Roxas and Loi and Jinggoy Estrada, House Deputy Speaker Raul V. Del Mar, Representatives Rolando Andaya and Roger Mercado, the chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the House committee on approriations; and Representatives Eduardo Firmalo, Rodriguez Dadivas, HJ Anuar J. …