PHILSSA Holds Community- Managed Water Systems Summit
PHILSSA and the Palawan Advocates for Good Governance and Empowerment (PAGE) organized a Community- Managed Water Systems Summit on October 22-23, 2018 in Coron, Palawan. The summit was participated by 12 groups of community-managed water systems from the Municipalities of Busuanga, Coron, Culion, and Linapacan in Northern Palawan. Most of these groups had been assisted by PHILSSA and PAGE in the Yolanda Rehabilitation Project.
With the theme “Strengthening and Sustaining Community-Managed Water Systems”, the two-day summit was intended to gather together these partner communities to share about the current situation of their water systems, discuss issues and concerns and explore possible areas for partnership.
The first day of the summit started with a self-assessment on the performance of the community-managed water systems in the aspects of organizational management, legal, technical and environment, and financial. The results of the assessment showed that the community managed water systems are at different levels in terms of their organizational capacities. Some groups are already technologically advanced while others are in the developing stage and still need further training, mentoring and coaching. Common training needs were also identified such as plumbing, financial management, operation and management and documentation and filing of resolutions. Registration of the organizations to the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) and the acquisition of permits from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the National Water Resources Board were also common concerns of the groups. The need to form a Calamianes- Wide Network or Federation of Community Managed Water Systems that could help facilitate their access to resources and sharing of knowledge also emerged during the discussions and exchanges.
On the second day of the summit, resource speakers gave inputs on various topics that are useful to the participants. The first topic was about Water Rights and Legal Concerns. Mr. Ted de Guia of PAGE gave a presentation about Presidential Decree No. 1067 or the Water Code of the Philippines.
This was followed by the presentation of Mr. Balderrama on Governance Issues and Management Concerns. He discussed the documentary requirements and processes needed for SEC registration. He also gave some tips on how to ensure good organizational governance.
The next speakers gave inputs on technical and environmental concerns. Mr. Paul Cabacungan of the Ateneo Innovation Center (AIC) shared about the different technologies developed by AIC that can be used by the communities during calamities such as the solar-powered rainwater catchment, clean water kit and PVC pump. He also talked about the various ways of testing water quality and self- sustaining liquid waste treatment.
Mr. Eric Lopez presented about the Calamianes Resilience Network (CRN). It is a multi-sectoral convergence group composed of 33 organizations that aim to strengthen collaboration, coordination, and sharing of knowledge, experiences, and resources among the CSOs, academe, the private sector, and the communities towards a resilient Calamianes.
Engr. Mark Roel of the DENR-EMB MIMAROPA gave a presentation about water quality management focusing on the DENR Administrative Order 90-34: Revised Water Usage and Classification/Water Quality Criteria.
The last topic was about financing and social enterprises opportunities that could be tapped by the community-managed water systems. Coca-Cola Foundation shared about their Agos Water Stewardship Program composed of projects on community water access, water for small farmers and watershed protection. Foundation for Sustainable Society (FSSI) and the Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF) also shared about their loan windows for social enterprises where the groups could apply.
At the end of the summit, the groups re-affirmed their agreements to continuously work on strengthening their organizations and registering them to either SEC or CDA. They also scheduled a meeting on November to formalize the creation of the Calamianes Wide Federation of Community Managed Water Systems.