Senator Edgardo J. Angara underscored the need for an integrated management of the country's land and water resources as he urged that plenary debates on Senate Bill 3091, which institutionalizes a National Land Use Policy, be held closely with those on measures for water sector reform.
“We have to correlate the very important land use plan to pending reforms in the use of water resources because they are inextricably linked,” said Angara, Chair of the Senate sub-Committee on Water. “Without water, the effective use of land will be diminished. If we don't manage our water resources responsibly, we reduce our capacity to work with our lands.”
The veteran lawmaker is the main author and sponsor of the pending Water Sector Reform Act or WSRA (SBN 2997) that calls for comprehensive changes in the country’s water sector.
The WSRA purports to improve the delivery of water supply and sanitation services throughout the country by setting up a management framework that adopts the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) approach of the Global Water Partnership (GWP).
Angara also highlighted that improving on the management of the country’s natural resources have to be undertaken in tandem with enhancing initiatives in mapping the country.
“Right now, our geographic knowledge is antiquated. The only modern mapping of our country is for Mindanao—done by the Japanese government, if I’m not mistaken. Visayas and Luzon have remained largely unmapped to a scale that one can see even the trees on the ground,” added Angara, also Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology as well as Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science & Technology and Engineering (COMSTE).
“There is the urgent need to update our maps and scientific databases, especially in the face of climate change and intensifying disasters.”
He concluded, “It is only through an approach that is integrated, holistic, science-based and information-driven can we manage both our lands and waters effectively and sustainably.” (30)