One of the many symptoms of poverty and underdevelopment is the lack of access to clean water and sanitation. Disparities in access to water between rich households and the poor deepen social inequalities.
In a country of more than 100 million, there are 8.4 million who do not have access to clean drinking water while there are 7.5 million do not have access to sanitary toilet facilities, according to a 2015 joint report by the World Health Organization and United Nations.
While access to safe water supply has been improving in recent years, low-income Filipinos in both urban and rural communities still suffer from significant inequalities in water coverage. Access to water affects people’s health, education, shelter and livelihood; its absence threatens the fulfillment of other basic human needs.
As the government expands its programs in bringing coverage to waterless municipalities, a rights-based approach that recognizes water as a basic need should be the guiding principle in the implementation of these projects.
The National Anti-Poverty Commission identifies water and sanitation as one of the 10 basic needs of Filipinos under the Kilos SAMBAYANAN (Kilos para sa Sampung Batayang Pangangailangan) campaign. It is an important aspect of human development and every Filipino deserves to enjoy safe water and good sanitation facilities.