The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has signed a five-year, P869-million Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Palawan, Negros Occidental, and Sarangani to address water security challenges faced by communities in those provinces.

Through the “Safe Water” project, USAID will provide technical assistance to help communities in these provinces gain reliable access to clean water.

water - USAID signs 5-year ‘Safe Water’ deal with Palawan, Negros Occ., and Sarangani LGUs
(MARK BALMORES / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Palawan, Negros Occidental, and Sarangani all face recurring water shortages amid rising water demand, degraded watersheds, and inadequate access to water supply and sanitation services.

In his remarks at the signing ceremony, Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson hailed the partnership as “a milestone and a significant step towards a more serious and in-depth water governance for more inclusive and sustainable development in the province of Negros Occidental.”

USAID Acting Mission Director Patrick Wesner led the signing ceremony together with representatives from the Philippine government and private sector, including National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Assistant Director General Roderick Planta, Palawan Governor Jose Chaves Alvarez, and Sarangani Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon.

In a statement on Thursday, Nov. 19, the USAID said its assistance will focus on increasing access to resilient water and sanitation services, improving water resource management to ensure sustainable supply, and strengthening water sector governance.

USAID will also scale up successful approaches and models by utilizing best practices from policymakers and other sector players.

“The U.S. government is proud to support the efforts of Palawan, Negros Occidental, and Sarangani to achieve water security. USAID will work with partners to maximize the use of data and sound analytics to guide informed decision making, identify lasting solutions, and prioritize investments,” Wesner said.

The MOU signing event  highlighted Safe Water’s partnership with private sector and non-government organizations.

Safe Water project’s implementing partner DAI Global LLC, will work with local groups Philippine Business for Social Progress, Water.org, Mahintana Foundation Inc, Conrado and Ladislawa Alcantara Foundation Inc., and the Foundation for a Sustainable Society Inc. to empower communities to become better environmental stewards, build local capacity to deliver clean drinking water and improved sanitation services, and strengthen stakeholder engagement toward long-term water security.

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