IN recognition of her invaluable contributions to keep the environment and waterways clean ang healthy, Senator Cynthia Villar was an awardee in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources- National Capital Region (DENR-NCR) “Gawad Taga-Ilog 2.0: Search for the Most Improved Estero in Metro Manila” during the celebration of World Water Day (WWD).
The DENR-NCR also acknowledged Villar for her strong advocacy in the protection of natural resources, solid waste management, sustainable tourism and community development.
In her Acceptance Speech during the event held at Radisson North EDSA, Quezon City, Villar noted that as an individual, a legislator and a public servant,
these have always been her priorities and advocacies.
The senator has been at the forefront of maintaining a healthy environment, especially now that we are facing a global health crisis. She has likewise been making strides for the realization of water sustainability.
Villar, chairperson of the Senate committee on environment and natural resources, recalled that “four years ago on this day in 2018, together with the Manila Bay Site Coordinating Management Office and all other organizations, the DENR-NCR also awarded me as “Kampeon ng Katubigan” for my efforts in leading the protection of bodies of water such as the Las Piñas Zapote River and the Las Piñas Parañaque Wetland Park.”
“Eleven years ago, in 2011, I also received an award for the river rehabilitation program. I started in my home city- the Sagip Ilog program. It bested other initiatives from 38 other countries and won the United Nations Water for Life Best Water Management Practices during World Water Day celebration in Zaragosa, Spain,” also said Villar.
Such recognitions, the senator asserted, challenged her to do even more for the environment.
“Now, it’s World Water Day again, and the theme of this year’s celebration is, “Groundwater: making the invisible visible”, which highlights an otherwise invisible water resource,” related Villar.
The United Nations’ International Groundwater Resources Assessment Center (UN-IGRC) said groundwater is a vital resource providing almost half of all drinking water worldwide, about 40% of water for irrigated agriculture and about 1/3 of water required for industries.
Because the Philippines is an agricultural country, Villar stressed that water is vital for the country’s food security, among others.
“We do have to keep on reminding people that water is not an infinite resource and it is in fact getting scarce,” she said.
“The World Economic Forum, water scarcity is among the biggest challenges to the global economy. So, water security becomes an even more important and urgent concern for all of us,” said Villar.
Furthermore, she stressed that groundwater, in particular, sustains ecosystems and maintains the baseflow of rivers. Groundwater is also an important part of climate change adaptation process and is often a solution for people without access to safe water.
But despite these impressive facts and figures, Villar lamented the UN-IGRC cited that invisible groundwater is out of sight and out of mind for most people.
There are already over 663 million people around the world without access to safe drinking water and the world’s population continues to grow at such a fast pace. “So, we need to ensure that we have a steady and sustainable supply by addressing the various challenges confronting water resources and of course, finding solutions,” added the senator.