The Philippines has found a new export product as world water leaders cited the 20-year old successful Private Public Partnership among the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), Manila Water, Maynilad and SMC’s Luzon Clean Water Corporation at the 1st Asia Water Week and Korea International Water Week (September 20-23) in Gyeongju, South Korea that brought together some 2,500 stakeholders in the water industry to discuss ways to establish lasting partnerships that are needed to resolve water issues in Asia around the world.
MWSS Administrator Reynaldo V. Velasco, Manila Water President Ferdinand M. dela Cruz and Maynilad President Ramoncito S. Fernandez shared stellar billing in the twin Korea water conferences as they presented “Water Security under the Duterte Administration and the Successful PPP in the Philippines.”
“The Korea water conferences was an important event to further promote the country’s effective, participative and successful PPP legal framework started in 1997 by President Fidel V. Ramos through a Concession Agreement in the water industry that the Philippines through Manila Water is now exporting to ASEAN countries like Myanmar, Vietnam and Indonesia,” said Velasco.
In his speech, Manila Water President Ferdz dela Cruz stressed that “water PPP can work in many places provided the Regulatory framework is clear, transparent and consistent. An output-based scheme is appropriate for the private sector to provide an environment to perform well and in an efficient manner. Water PPP has worked in Metro Manila. It has worked in other parts of the Philippines. It can work in many more places in Asia. Manila Water is a testimony that Asians can solve Asian water issues.”
For his part, Maynilad President Mon Fernandez said “our partnership with the MWSS has benefited millions of Filipinos, spurred economic activity with our investments and generated thousands of jobs. We are now setting our sights to other areas in the Philippines as there are still 15 million Filipinos without access to water. We want to replicate our success story to other areas so others can also enjoy improved water supply and sanitation.”
The water conference was attended by Dr. Hak-Soo Lee, President of Asia Water Council and CEO of K-water, World Water Council President Dr. Benedito Braga, Minister of Public Works and Housing of Indonesia Dr. Ir. Basuki Hadimoeljono, Korea Minister of the Land of Infrastructure and Transport Hyun Mi Kim, Gyeongsangbuk-do Governor Kwan Yong Kim and Daegu City Mayor Yeong Jin Kwon.
In the high level panel discussion that focused on water related topics regarding the SDGs, water forums, NGOs, global community sustainability, the participants included: moderator Dr. Bindu N. Lohani, Representative of the Resources Center (TRC); and, the five panelists: Mr. Tunc Erk, Managing Director of SUEZ Water South East Asia; Mr. Sun Young Kim, Vice President of K-water; PDDG Reynaldo Velasco, Administrator of Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System from the Philippines; Dr. Hyoseop Woo, Vice President of Korea Water Forum; and Ms. Kusum Athukorala, Chair of NetWwater.
Velasco also served as one of the 10 major signatories to the World Water Cities Declaration spearheaded by Daegu City Mayor Yeong Jin Kwon who stressed the need for cities and countries to work together to resolve water issues. Daegu will host next year’s KIWW.
AWC President Lee stressed on the need for greater cooperation and participation to address water issues as he emphasized that AIWW and KIWW can be the platform to share technology and know how-in order to resolve water issues. Likewise, Lee formally accepted the new membership of Manila Water President Dela Cruz, Maynilad President Fernandez and Luzon Clean Water Corporation’s Edgar Dona to the prestigious Asia Water Council upon the sponsorship of MWSS Administrator and AWC Director Velasco in the 5th AWC Board Meeting.
World Water Council President Braga urged the stakeholders to focus on resolving water challenges, to address the gap between rural and urban areas and the need to share their thoughts through social innovation in order to resolve global water issues.
The top three global water leaders – Braga, Lee and Dr. Bindu N. Lohani – commended MWSS Administrator for bringing to the twin water conferences in Korea the Philippine water security program and the successful PPP in Metro Manila that merited interests and invitations from other countries to include Europe for the three Filipino water leaders to share their best practices.
Since he assumed office February this year, Velasco has cited privatization as a major factor in the vastly improved water services in Metro Manila. He described the two concessionaires as “partners in the water service and champions of PPP,” citing the need to work closely together in the collective mission to insure water security, strengthen and expand coverage of wastewater treatment plants to help reduce water pollution and protect major water resources.
Organized by AWC led by K-Water President Lee Hak Soo, the AIWW is a triennial water gathering for multi-stakeholders to seek tangible implementation for resolving Asian water problems and a forum for sharing AWC’s professional achievements as well as knowledge sharing with other professionals’ experience and networks.