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WELCOME REMARKS 2ND NATIONAL (PHILIPPINES) SANITATION SUMMIT: BETTER WATER QUALITY AND SAFETY THROUGH IMPROVED SANITATION Mr. Neeraj Jain Country Director Philippine Country Office Southeast Asia Department Asian Development Bank

July 9, 2008

I. INTRODUCTION Assistant Secretary Elmer Punzalan, other officials from the national government agencies, and local government units, including all Mayors present, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. Good morning. Welcome to ADB Headquarters. Many of you either flew in or traveled by land for many hours from across the country to be here, and we thank you for your time and effort. I must also recognize the main convenor of this Summit – the Department of Health, in collaboration with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, with support from the League of Cities and donor community and other development partners, whose logos you could see on that backdrop behind me. ADB is particularly pleased that DOH is leading this summit because in our sanitation advocacy, we espouse a greater role for Health Departments or Ministries in countries because poor sanitation impacts public health, first and foremost. II. Two Questions for this Summit: Who and How Water quality is a problem lurking in the pipes of many cities in the Philippines. The problem is exposed in regular news reports of outbreaks of waterborne illnesses. It is killing individuals, and felling hundreds at one time. In the few remaining months of 2007, there was a spate of outbreaks in Northern Samar, Calamba in Laguna, Benguet, and Cavite. In the village most affected by the Northern Samar outbreak, health officials there said only 3% of villagers had toilets in their homes. In Benguet, water contamination combined with unhygienic food preparation killed one and downed 45 others, most of whom were students. In Cavite and Laguna, about a thousand cases were reported in an outbreak linked to contaminated water. Two questions are at the heart of this issue. The first question—“Who is responsible for sanitation and water quality and safety ?” I promise I am not going to steal the thunder away from Dr. Galvez Tan, who will speak in a few moments on that very question. I’m more interested in the follow-up question. Once we know who is responsible, the question that remains is “How do we hold them accountable?”

In answering “the who and the how” behind sanitation and water quality and safety, we benefit from the groundwork laid at the first National Sanitation Summit. At the first sanitation summit, important steps were taken to articulate the challenges that you face as a country and as individual LGUs when it comes to sanitation and wastewater treatment. In fact, I believe you were ahead of many countries then in articulating the economic justification for greater investments in sanitation and wastewater management. You estimated that the average annual losses to all sectors as a result of poor sanitation was 67 billion pesos. Over the past two years, the Asian Development Bank has been making a similar economic case for sanitation investments. In the publication, Asia Water Watch 2015, which is ADB’s flagship publication on water and the MDGs, we calculated that every dollar invested in water supply and sanitation returns six dollars in health and opportunity costs. The time has certainly come for us to move beyond the question of why we should invest—and not just volume, but quality. In the Manila Declaration signed at the first summit, participants acknowledged that major challenge to acting on that economic rational was a lack of leadership for the sanitation and wastewater sector. Specifically, you said there was institutional uncertainty and variability in the leadership, personalities, and agenda that make up the sector. III. Who? Leadership from National, Initiative from Local This brings us back to the two questions we face at this second summit—Who’s responsible and how do we hold them responsible? The questions are central to reform. The overall spirit of reform calls for leadership at the national level, and initiative at the local level. National departments can lead reforms that provide incentives for sanitation and wastewater service providers to improve their coverage rates, quality of wastewater and innovation. Tomorrow you will hear how Indonesia’s Ministry of Public Works demonstrated commitment to community-based sanitaiton. With leadership in place at the national level, the Philippines is in a good position for more initiative at the local levels. The Philippines is already full of local initiative. We’ll hear stories of successful initiatives in Dumaguete, General Santos, San Fernando, Masbate, Cabayog, Marikina, and elsewhere in Metro Manila. Each city has focused on a different sanitation and wastewater challenge, but they all began from the same spirit of initiative. Their stories demonstrate how other local governments, water districts and other service providers can take the initiative by implementing programs and standards through local ordinances and codes. IV. How? Setting performance targets is how. While leadership and initiative are both necessary, we cannot depend on these two qualities alone in securing safe water quality and improved sanitation. They do not determine how we will hold leaders and providers responsible. What is needed between leadership at the national level and initiative at the local level are performance targets. I understand that this summit is designed to be actionoriented by dedicating the first day to agreeing on short-term and long-term targets and spending day 2 on detailing the strategy to achieve those targets.

IV. Conclusion It is as unfortunate as it is true that tragedy always serves to remind us. Outbreaks of waterborne illnesses remind us of the job that is left to be done by the water sector, particularly sanitation and wastewater treatment. Outbreaks can become far less frequent in the Philippines. We must strengthen our institutional frameworks and commit ourselves to specific targets. None of this will happen over night, but it can start today with even greater leadership from the national level and initiative at the local level. Thank you, and best wishes.