DAVAO CITY—President Rodrigo Duterte bared on Thursday, February 2, a plan to establish a central water agency in the country.
Duterte broached the idea as he delivered his keynote speech at the 38th National Convention of Philippine Association of Water Districts (PAWD) at the SMX Convention Center. It was attended by representatives of more than 500 local water districts nationwide.
“We will establish a central water agency under which all water related functions will be addressed. Tama ‘yan. It’s coming during my term,” the President told PAWD, which primary function is to provide sustainable, affordable and safe water to all Filipinos especially those in the countryside.
“I’d like to remind all, when I say all it is all: Do not be a hindrance sa pag-propagate pati cultivate and make use of the surface water. Huwag ninyong pahirapan ang local utilities,” he added.
He likewise told the national organization not to ask money from contractors and hasten the processing of papers and permits for key public services.
“The central government that is Manila, they only have one month to process papers. The directors are only given 15 days sa bureau nila,” he said.
The President stressed the need to rationalize and streamline government structures citing “overlapping” procedures and jurisdictions.
“Who gives to authority to what and whose final judgment is it that we follow?” he asked.
The Chief Executive underscored that Davao City was the first in the country to pass a water code to localize the National Water Code to ensure protection and management of its water resources.
“In the city of Davao, there is the water code passed by the City Council during the incumbency of my daughter, the first time,” he said referring to her daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.
“She would insist on it and, well, there was this attempt to reconfigure the river of, I think, one of the tributaries that comes out of Tamugan. She stood her ground and hindi talaga pumayag si Inday na maggawa ng bago. I don’t know what they were up to but I think it’s big business,” the President recalled.
Duterte also commended the local water district in Davao City for being one of the best performing government entities in his home province.
“Insofar as I’m concerned, in Davao City, it’s working well. I hope it is happening all over the country,” he said.
He quipped that he would always pay his water bills on time as a gesture of appreciation for the effectiveness and hard work of the local water districts.
Meanwhile, the President reiterated his appeal for government officials and employees to give the public a respite from graft and corruption.
“I would not want to zero in or focus on any administration. But for so much of our lives, it has always been corruption and it is the one thing that really pull down almost to the drain,” he said.
“Iyong indolence ng taga-gobyerno if not outright making money. It does not exempt any organization, even the police have been criminals,” he added.
He vowed to reform the Philippine National Police (PNP) lamenting that “it is rotten to the core.”
He again mentioned that about 6,000 policemen are involved in illegal drugs, and trade is still being carried out behind prison bars.
Aside from the PNP, he said there will also be cleansing and purging of abusive personnel at the National Bureau of Investigation.