In its mission to bolster the provision of formal water services specifically to low-income Philippine households, Water.org (WO) designed the Philippine Water Utility Project (PWUP) – a project that harnesses direct collaboration among WO, partner microfinance institutions (MFI), and qualified water providers, in accelerating water service expansion and new connections along urban fringes nationwide.

The introductory seminar, titled “Seminar on the Philippine Water Utility Project”, was held on 22-23 November 2016 at the Cocoon Hotel, Quezon City, Philippines. The seminar was aimed at enhancing the basic knowledge and awareness of WO staff and MFI partners in respect of the Philippine water supply and sanitation sector, to examine performance data, and learn about the multiple institutions and operators involved in water and wastewater provision, governance, regulation and financing. Participants got a clear idea of how WO and its partners could optimally transact business with formal water organizations and their served communities in the near-term in the context of the PWUP.

WaterLinks Executive Director Mai Flor was the event’s lead technical expert. Given her 25-year background in the Philippine (and international) water business, she delivered sharp insights into the Philippine water sector, its operational, institutional and financial challenges. Atty. Nathaniel Santos, Deputy Administrator of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) discussed the embattled regulatory and governance configuration in the sector. Technical sessions on water utility operations ensued the following day, with expert presentations on water treatment by Benjamin Villa of Maynilad, on the distribution network focusing on NRW and technology choices by Ryan Baculinao and Ariel Dayanghirang of Miya Philippines, and finally on septage and sanitation by Rheena Go of Laguna Water, a Manila Water subsidiary.

A total of 33 participants from six MFIs attended the 2-day seminar. Those who had hitherto been interacting with water utilities affirmed that the sessions strengthened their understanding of public policies and water operations; and all felt that the content, design and execution of the seminar was of high quality.

visit water.org/philippines for more information