Today is: Sun, May 19, 2013
Poor governance and weak enforcement of existing laws and regulations results in environmental degradation in the Philippines. While the Clean Water Act of 2004 requires the development of sewage and septage treatment systems, implementation requires capacity building and technical assistance. The private sector needs to be engaged, and the capacity of local government units (LGUs) and water districts has to be strengthened for them to develop effective and sustainable sanitation programs.
The USAID Philippine Sanitation Alliance (PSA), which ran from 2007 to 2011, worked with LGUs, water districts and private sector partners to develop affordable ways to protect biodiversity and reduce public health risks through improved sanitation. With assistance from the PSA, cities, water districts and private companies built treatment facilities using appropriate technology. Projects included low-cost, low-maintenance treatment facilities for public markets, slaughterhouses, hospitals and low-cost housing; and city-wide programs to properly maintain septic tanks (septage management). Cities developed effective promotion campaigns to increase willingness to pay for sanitation services and reduce the incidence of diarrhea through proper hygienic practices, particularly handwashing. Governance was also strengthened to reduce threats to biodiversity as LGUs worked to control wastewater discharges to coastal and freshwater ecosystems. PSA was part of a USAID initiative called the Global Development Alliance.
The PSA assists partners through:
- Participatory planning workshops to develop action plans;
- Technical assistance to develop infrastructure and local ordinances;
- Information sharing for nationwide replication through national associations of cities, hospitals, hotels and restaurants, and housing developers;
- Site visits to learn about best practices and affordable options;
- Information and resource materials on technology and financing options;
- Training on how to develop effective promotion campaigns using a toolkit; and
- Sharing project results and lessons learned in local and national conferences.
Under the USAID-Rotary International Water Alliance program the PSA worked in partnership with Rotary clubs and districts to implement a septage management and sewerage project in San Fernando, La Union. A second project improved water quality, access to toilets, solid waste management and health in the Pasig River System in Metro Manila.
During four years of implementation, the PSA worked with its partners to provide more than 1.4 million people with access to improved sanitation, leveraged more than $4 million in cash and in kind investments in sanitation infrastructure and activities, and trained more than 5,400 people. Some of the project results included:
- Onsite wastewater treatment: public and private sector partners financed 41 onsite wastewater treatment facilities for housing developments, public markets, hospitals, slaughterhouses and commercial centers;
- Septage management: facilitated the first city-wide septage management program in the Philippines funded jointly by the city government and water district of Dumaguete. Septic tanks are being desludged on a five-year cycle and the program will achieve full cost recovery in about five years. Five other septage management programs are in various stages of development; and
- Hygiene promotion: assisted partners in planning and implementing effective handwashing promotion campaigns for children with measurable results, and partners passed ordinances requiring soap and water in public restrooms. In Manila, community members decided to work together to end open defecation to protect public health and increase tourism in the historic district of Sta. Ana.
The Philippine Sanitation Alliance included ten cities (Cagayan de Oro, Calbayog, Dumaguete, Iloilo, Malaybalay, Meycauayan, Muntinlupa, Naga, Sta. Rosa, Zamboanga), and four water districts (Calamba, Cebu, Davao and Laguna).
Private sector companies and associations included Coca-Cola Export Corporation, Max’s Restaurants, C TRADE, Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Associations (CREBA), the Hotel and Restaurant Association of the Philippines (HRAP), and the Philippine Hospital Association.
Technical resource partners included Engineers without Borders and BORDA, a German NGO. Other NGOs included Gawad Kalinga (low-cost housing) and the Blacksmith Institute (pollution remediation).
The PSA coordinated closely with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Health, Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, Local Water Utilities Administration, Mindanao Economic Development Council, World Bank, and the Philippine Ecological Sanitation Network.
For more information, go to www.psa.ph.
Chief, Office of Environment, Energy, and Climate Change
8/F PNB Financial Center
Pres. Diosdado Macapagal Blvd.
Pasay City, Philippines 1308
Tel. No. +632-552-9823
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