Diokno: Gov’t ready to support efforts to improve access to clean water

Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno assured stakeholders and partners in the development and private sectors that the government is supportive of initiatives towards achieving universal access to clean water.

“[A]llow me to assure you that in our capacity as chair of the administration’s economic team, the Department of Finance (DOF) stands ready to support all efforts toward our shared goal of achieving universal access to clean water and fighting climate change at the soonest possible time,” said Secretary Diokno on Tuesday (September 20) at the Water Forum 2022.

Secretary Diokno said that the Marcos administration recognizes the critical role of sustainable water supply and systems in the daily reality of Filipinos.

For this reason, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) introduced the Philippine Water Supply and Sanitation Master Plan.

“This Plan serves as the blueprint to achieve universal access to safe, sufficient, affordable, and sustainable water supply, hygiene, and sanitation by 2030. To accomplish this goal, the Master Plan focuses on eight key reform agendas that include strengthening our regulatory environment and enabling access to financing,” Secretary Diokno explained.

Secretary Diokno said that the plan calls for a total investment of over P1 trillion to achieve universal access to clean water by 2030.

He said that this requires a harmonized orchestration of investments and increased participation from the private sector, international development partners, as well as local and national agencies.

At present, the country’s green finance structure is focused on financial tools that are designed to increase revenue generation while taking into account environmental risks to finance projects.

The DOF has been vigorously advocating the protection of the environment and the sound management of its resources.

“To deepen our financial markets and enable green financing to grow, the Department of Finance has been working closely with various government agencies and multilateral partners in building a supportive green finance environment. As a result of this multi-sectoral effort, we have put together a policy package that supports this agenda,” said Secretary Diokno.

Secretary Diokno cited the Sustainable Finance Roadmap that incorporates a whole-of-nation approach in mobilizing finance to support the transition to a clean, sustainable, and climate-resilient economy.

He said that the roadmap aims to address policy and regulatory gaps in promoting sustainable investments through finance, implementing sustainable government initiatives, facilitating investments in public infrastructure, and developing projects that promote sustainability in the country.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the DOF also co-lead the Green Force that aims to synergize public and private investments in greening the business landscape and mainstreaming climate action across the financial sector.

Secretary Diokno cited strong support from multilateral partners and investors for the government’s climate finance initiatives.

The government recently issued the country’s first-ever sustainability global bonds, sustainability samurai bonds, and first Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) bond issuance that marks the country’s opening salvo of efforts to develop the sustainable financing market.

On top of these, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has extended to the Philippines its first-ever climate change policy-based financing worth USD250 million, making the country one of the pioneers in climate policy development financing.

Secretary Diokno said that the Marcos administration is also building the capacity of local government units (LGUs) for the formulation and implementation of sustainable development projects on the ground.

Through the Climate Change Commission (CCC), the government has also assembled a team of Filipino experts to engage climate-vulnerable communities and prepare them to execute localized action plans.

In addition, the DOF strongly pushes for the passage of a bill that would tax the use of single-use plastics to cut pollution and adopt more sustainable alternatives.

“This initiative will encourage every Filipino to do their part in saving the environment,” said Secretary Diokno.