Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Labor party joins other groups in pushing for right to water

22 March 2011

The labor party Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) links up with other groups under the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) pushing for the recognition and enforcement of the right to water.

A rally led by FDC was held this morning at the Mabuhay Rotonda on the occasion of the 18th World Water Day, urging President Aquino to unequivocally declare the government’s recognition of this right and to take the lead in ensuring that water preservation and water supply provision is built around the human right to water and the principles of environmental sustainability.

PM Secretary General Judy Ann Miranda said that because water is a finite
natural resource, global capitalism was able to alter its social function from being a ‘common good’ into a private commodity being traded into the market.

“Gone were the times when 'free water' is enjoyed by communities. Now it is a private commodity traded similar to how a cola is priced in the market,” explained Miranda.

The labor group said the privatization of the water industry in many parts of the world, including the Philippines, transformed this social good into a cash-rich business that delivers high returns to private corporations while becoming more inaccessible to the poor.

In 1992, the United Nations declared March 22 as the World Water Day in recognition of the importance of securing global water resource. Water right is a human right that cannot be denied to anybody, including the next generations.

Miranda added that chronic poverty made many poor communities virtually “waterless” as private water utilities would only lay their pipes to economically viable areas leaving the unconnected households at the mercy of aguadors who supply them with more costly and unsafe water.

According to FDC, between 1990 to 2006, the percentage of Filipinos with access to improved water sources decreased from 87% to 81%. A total of 432 communities have been listed as waterless, with less than 50% of the households having access to safe potable water supply.

Moreover, watersheds are recklessly being destroyed by corporate activities such as metallic and fossil fuel mining and other industrial activities which largely contribute also to climate change.

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