September 7, 2017 | 10h57
Nationwide, one in 10 Filipinos, or nearly 10 million people, do not have access to safe drinking water. In some parts of the country, nearly 40% of Filipinos do not have this access.
These figures were published last month by the World Health Organization and UNICEF in the report “Progress on Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: 2017 Update and Sustainable Development Goal Baselines”.
Half of hospitalizations worldwide are due to people drinking contaminated water. Every year, dirty water kills the most vulnerable segment of the population, children under 5. Lack of access to safe drinking water also condemns predominantly women and girls to a life of crushing misery.
Rocco Puno, president of the international water charity Got Agua ?, called the report a sobering reminder of the work that needs to be done.
âAccess to clean water should not be a luxury or limited by the accident of birth. On the contrary, access to clean water should be a birthright for every Filipino in every barangay nationwide. “Puno said.
“The WHO and UNICEF report highlights the work that needs to be done to make this birthright a reality for every Filipino,” she added.
In response to Puno’s call to action, Got Agua? volunteers from the Philippines and the United States led by Madeline Myronowicz, vice president of the group, traveled to the so-called cradle of civilization in the Philippines, an area called Tabon in Quezon, Palawan province, to rehabilitate and drill new water wells.
Barangay captain Herasmo Abelong, barangay board members and local school children warmly welcomed Got Agua? volunteers with a full program that included two dances by the children. The school children obviously rehearsed their routines for weeks. The Got Agua? The team was also treated to homemade organic banana bread, buko pie and locally grown tamarind tea.
During their stay, the Got Agua? The team arranged to repair a well that provides water to over 100 students at the local college, rehabilitated four more wells, and drilled a new well.
These wells will provide drinking water to 1,000 residents. With the addition of these new sources of water, Got Agua? completed other water supply projects for over 19,000 people.
Myronowicz expressed his gratitude to the community for their openness and warm welcome.
âPalawan is a place of breathtaking beauty. We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of spirit and enthusiasm of the people and are grateful to have been invited and adopted by the community. We especially want to thank the social worker Lilybeth T. Balisco from the Municipal Social Bureau of Welfare and Development, Quezon, Palawan for introducing us to this wonderful group of people and this idyllic place, and of course the Captain of Barangay Abelong for all his help. ‘m looking forward to returning to the Philippines next year for other water projects, “Myronowicz said.
Puno added, âOur water projects demonstrate that people can come together for the greater good, work to save the lives of our most vulnerable and tackle the root causes of poverty in the Philippines and abroad.