COTABATO CITY—The Bangsamoro Government partnered with the United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF) to craft the development plan on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) on November 15-20, 2021 held at Seda Hotel, Davao City.
The 6-day bottleneck analysis and strategic planning was conducted with the lead ministries of Health (MOH), Local Government (MILG), and Bangsamoro Planning and Development Authority (BPDA) with Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD) served as technical secretariat.
This initiative of the Bangsamoro Sub-committee on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (BSCW) of the Bangsamoro Economic Development Committee (BEDC) aimed to identify the constraints and set a clear roadmap in the implementation of water, sanitation and hygiene programs and projects in the Bangsamoro region.
In his opening discussions during the bottleneck analysis, Philippines’s Chief of WASH Carlos Vasquez recognized both the national’s (including Bangsamoro region) problem on sanitation and hygiene which could threaten the health of Bangsamoro and their welfare if not addressed properly and immediately.
“Children are suffering from water-borne diseases, malnutrition and stunting in BARMM alone […] about 45.2% or equivalent to 236,000 of children under 5 years of age are stunted or their brain are not fully developed due to unsafe drinking water, sanitation problem and poor in hygiene practices,” Vasquez added.
Meanwhile, BPDA Director General Engr. Mohajirin T. Ali stressed the collective role of every individual, families, communities, and policy-makers in the region in dealing with the problem on WASH.
“The problem on WASH is not only pointing fingers to decision makers but it should [also] be consortium efforts of every one of us to deal with in order to solve the issue, in which cleanliness should be started in ourselves or in our family,” Ali said.
The BPDA Director General further mentioned the necessity to increase on the efficiency of WASH sector resources to reach more sustainable and equitable outcomes, hoping that the output could be integrated possibly in the revised version of Bangsamoro Development Plan (BDP).
MILG Director General Engr. Khalid Dumagay encouraged the participants to actively participate in the different workshops in-order to come up with the best reference of the BARMM government on WASH.
“Let us help one another to make the output of this activity as a good reference for our leaders and decision-makers to craft the basic WASH policy for the welfare of the Bangsamoro people,” Dumagay said.
MOH Director General Dr. Ameril Usman mentioned that BARMM had various achievements in the health sectors. He hoped to improve the access of communities to safe water, better sanitation, and good hygiene as these are basic rights of the Bangsamoro people.
“Our very own religion has clearly emphasized cleanliness as half of our faith, and there would be several impacts at stake in our community if we are not akin to be clean such as economic lost due to resurgence of various diseases related to WASH,” Usman said.
Assistant Secretary of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) – Infrastructure Division Roderick M. Planta congratulated the Bansgamoro Government and the UNICEF for the conduct of the said activity as it was the first time to be done in the Philippines.
“Our national government really acknowledged this kind of efforts, and we are very supportive of partnerships and multi-stakeholder approaches, particularly on the vertical and horizontal integration of institution to find ways to address this WASH problems para sa bayan at para sa kinabukasan ng ating mga kababayan,” Planta said.
For his part, BARMM Chief Minister Ahod B. Ebrahim emphasized the need to look for viable programs to meet safe drinking water, clean sanitation, and good hygiene which are crucial to human health and well-being of the Bangsamoro people.
“WASH is not just a seasonal conversation but a priority to all of us […] always remember that the Government of the Day is with you all throughout this endeavor”, Ebrahim noted. (Bangsamoro Information Office)