Put up rainwater collectors, bgys urged

A METRO Manila congressman has urged barangays and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to take advantage of the People’s Survival Fund (PSF) so they can put up functional rainwater collectors in their communities.

Deputy Minority Leader and Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. underscored the importance of using PSF with 61 percent of the country including Metro Manila reeling from drought brought on by El Niño.

“The PSF is a special annual fund in the National Treasury that provides subsidy to climate change adaptation and natural disaster resilience strategies, including the installation of practical rainwater harvesters,” said Campos.

The fund was established by law to supplement the yearly money set aside by national agencies as well as local governments for programs and projects meant to build up the capability of communities to cope with harsh weather conditions, according to Campos.

Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte said Congress could help address the dry spell problem by requiring commercial, institutional and residential estate developers to install rainwater retention facilities in their projects in Metro Manila and other major cities.

Villafuerte said the current water rationing in Metro Manila should prompt the Congress to place on the front burner bills on water conservation such as his proposal outlined in House Bill (HB) No. 8088 on the construction of facilities converting harvested rainwater for non-potable uses.

“Rainwater is a free, abundant, and regular natural resource that the Philippines is fortunate to receive year in and out. It is high time that we make use of it for the general advantage of our people,” said Villafuerte.

The PSF never runs out of money because it is guaranteed a replenishable balance of at least P1 billion every year under the law, Campos said, referring to Republic Act (RA) No. 10174, which reinforced the Climate Change Act of 2009.

The fund is administered by the People’s Survival Fund Board, composed of the heads of the Department of Finance, Department of Budget and   Management, Department of the Interior and Local Government, National Economic and Development Authority and the Philippine Commission on Women, along with the vice chairperson of the Climate Change Commission, and one representative each from the scientific community, the business sector, and non-government organizations.

Campos, meanwhile, backed calls for a congressional inquiry into the lackluster execution of the 30-year-old Rainwater Collector and Springs Development Law, or RA No. 6715.

“We will introduce the resolution enabling the inquiry,” Campos said.

The largely unimplemented 1989 law requires the Department of Public Works and Highways to construct rainwater collectors in all barangays countrywide.