22 March 2017
Today on World Water Day Coffey is highlighting our water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) efforts in the Philippines. The Philippines region is made up of more than 7000 islands, all prone to natural disasters, particularly flooding. In this part of the world, torrential rain and tsunamis are part of the monsoon season, which begins in June and lasts into October.
A number of factors contribute to extreme flooding, especially in the nation’s capital Manilla. Population density, poor drainage infrastructure, lack of maintenance resources, unplanned urban development, and sinking terrain all contribute to devastating flooding and lingering flood damage.
The Australian Government works in partnership with the Philippine Government in its economic and social development. Coffey’s Philippines–Australia Human Resource and Organisational Development Facility, managed on behalf of the Australian Government works across a number of different industries, providing education, human resource, and development opportunities.
The Facility works with selected partner organisations including the Department of Interior and Local Government to build the foundations of good governance. By addressing the human resource and organisations development issues within partner organisations, the Facility enables them to be more capable of delivering services and effecting positive change within the Philippines. The Facility also manages Australia Awards — Philippines, providing high-achieving Filipino development leaders with the opportunity to pursue postgraduate studies in Australia. Visit their website at www.australiaawards.gov.au.
In the City of Caloocan the Department worked with the City Director, Atty. Vedasto Bassi to spark social change by challenging communities, residents and officials to commit to the Clean-Up project of the Tanigue river. The community agreed to implement the Unite, Rehabilitate, Guard, and Ensure the Naturalism of Tanigue Waterway (URGENT) project.
URGENT mobilised community resources and built local skills to rehabilitate the creek. The community came together to provide human services, supplies, tools and equipment for the clean-up drive and set up posts at various waterways, appointing trained environmental police. To ensure the waterways are maintained, “creek guardians” have been deployed to oversee the commitment to keeping the creeks clean.
Nearby in Pasig City, the waterways which flow into Manilla Bay became polluted and clogged with garbage as result of being in an industrial area. Charles Ernest Elle, General Manager of Super Globe, a paint company located on the edge of the Pasig City waterways said,
"When Typhoon Ketsana came and the creek overflowed, our trucks, our cars, our production plant, our warehouses and even the neighbouring houses were submerged in floodwater”.