Speech of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. at the Inauguration of the Davao City Bulk Water Supply Project

News Releases 7 February 2024

Thank you for your introduction Secretary Anton Lagdameo.

[Please take your seats]

The DENR Secretary Maritoni—well, I’m the only one who calls you Maritoni—Toni Loyzaga, The Aboitiz Equity Ventures Incorporated President and CEO Sabin Aboitiz, Davao City Water District Chairperson Eduardo Bangayan,

The officials and employees of the Apo Agua Infrastructura Incorporated–congratulations, by the way, for this amazing project that you have put together. I do not think… I’m glad that we had the opportunity to fly around and to have Sabin with me explaining exactly what are the facilities that you have to put in place, and what were the–he talked about the obstacles that you have to overcome. And it is..the scale of it is really very, very impressive.

My fellow workers in government–we have some members of the Cabinet who have joined me for the several events that we are doing here today, Other distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen, Good morning!

I am delighted to join you today to inaugurate this Davao City Bulk Water Supply Project.

It is not just about supplying Davao City with bulk water, it is also about ensuring that its people are provided with clean water and to improve their quality of life.

Now, the facility has been delivering 300 million liters of water per day to over one million households in Davao City.

The Davao City Bulk Water Supply project is also a concrete step for us to lessen our reliance on limited groundwater by tapping the Tamugan River as a sustainable water source.

This is very important as we have changed [the] policy and we are now starting to feel the effects of what we have been doing in the past, that is digging wells. And our aquifers are already starting to feel the effects and they are not being replenished enough. Which is ironic because we have sufficient surface water in the Philippines. The Philippines is not a dry country and so, this model that we are inaugurating here today is right in line with the policy— the shift in policy in the government of taking water from surface water sources rather than from digging wells.

And I am very pleased to learn that this state-of-the-art facility is designed following the water-energy nexus model.

They are also producing electricity from the hydro plant which runs the plant.

It enables the renewable energy through its built-in hydroelectric power, lessens reliance on our already strained electricity grid and responds to the clamor for better environmental stewardship and more responsible management of natural resources.

So, let me take this opportunity to acknowledge the teams of Apo Agua and its parent company, Aboitiz InfraCapital, and the Davao City Water District and the local government of Davao City for the unwavering dedication that was required and— to bring this project to fruition.

Your efforts to ensure the protection and conservation of the Panigan-Tamugan Watershed, and the management and rehabilitation of hundreds of hectares within the watershed area show that we can pursue development without compromising the environment.

Thank you for showing us the deep well of potential that public-private partnerships hold, not just in securing water supply, but also in paving the way for enhanced economic growth, jobs creation, and an improved standards of living for all Filipinos.

What this demonstrates is a proven approach in battling water scarcity, which is no longer a seasonal challenge but a perpetual threat that comes with climate change.

It is for this reason that I continually stress the urgency of improving water security, and directed agencies concerned to expedite the completion of all water projects across the country.

Any disruption to the water supply, such as the one posed by the El Niño phenomenon, which we are feeling the effects of now, degrades our quality of life, it dampens economic activities, and can fuel disorder.

Of all emergencies, water scarcity is the hardest to contain. It is, however, preventable – with foresight, right plans, united action, and strong political will.

Anticipating problems instead of letting them catch us by surprise is how we approach these challenges in the Bagong Pilipinas. We prepare for contingencies, solve problems, and defuse potential crises before they occur.

We dream of building a nation our children that proudly inherit— that our children can proudly inherit. And as such, this project is worth bequeathing to the generations that will come after us.

I can only once again, congratulate the Apo Agua water project and congratulate the Aboitiz group for the hard work they have put in, and the commitment that you have shown despite the trouble— there were many, many, I think… I heard the litany of the difficulties you have faced from the beginning to the end. Government not playing a small part in some of those either but the commitment that you have shown to now be able to provide this much clean fresh water to our people.

And that is not only a blessing for families who have had to suffer through the scarcity of water supply and are now able to enjoy a sufficient water supply. And the quality of life, I think does not need any further explanation, the quality of life between having clean water available, sufficient— insufficient amount at a price that can be afforded, and having now this kind of almost unlimited supply is life-changing.

And for that, we can only thank you all for the work that you have done.

Congratulations at magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat. [Applause]

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