The government is spending P1.73 billion to implement water supply projects in poor and waterless tourism areas nationwide in a bid to spur tourism and economic activity in these areas.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said the amount was released to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to implement the Tourism Water Supply Infrastructure program, a “convergence project” between the DPWH and the Department of Tourism (DOT).
“Through the joint efforts of these agencies, the Administration has identified various in-need locations nationwide which have been waterless for years now,” Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said.
“As poor as these communities have been, however, we understand their potential for growth, especially through local tourism. Our latest fund release aims to respond to this need and potential by developing water supply facilities in these areas,” he said.
Leading the list of priority implementation sites are the cities of San Carlos in Negros Occidental and Dapitan in Zamboanga del Norte, which have each been allotted P138.6 million in funding.
The identification and listing of priority areas were prepared by the DPWH, DOT, the National Anti-Poverty Commission, and the Local Water Utilities Administration.
“The updated National Tourism Development Plan for 2011-2016 has also allowed us to home in on tourist destinations that require proper and sustainable water supplies and sanitation facilities. Providing such infrastructure would be crucial in enriching tourism growth and development in these areas. This in turn would further promote a more vibrant, beneficial, and lucrative economic environment for these local communities,” Abad stressed.
The P1.73-billion release was charged against the DPWH’s budget for Water Supply and Sanitation for poverty areas and tourism priority sites under the 2014 General Appropriations Act.
“We continue to pursue priority investments in developing our tourist destinations. Providing better access to safe and clean water facilities is one of these priorities,” Abad said.
“The Aquino Administration remains focused on expanding the country’s tourism industry. Such a move allows us to showcase the Philippines’ natural beauty, all while stimulating the local economy and creating more jobs for the residents of these communities,” he added.