Manila Water recently paid tribute to various local government units and national government agencies who have been staunch partners and supporters of the Toka Toka advocacy campaign, the country’s first and only environmental movement focused on wastewater or used water management.
Manila Water President and CEO Ferdinand Dela Cruz said that ‘Toka Toka started out in 2012 as a simple information material for stakeholders to appreciate the need for used water management. Over the years, Toka Toka has evolved into an environmental advocacy encouraging individuals and entities to do their respective share and contribute to environmental protection through any of the following four acts: (1) connection to sewer lines if within a sewered network, (2) desludging of septic tanks every five years, (3) proper solid waste management and (4) information, education and communication (IEC) of the importance of treating and managing used water. The program augurs well with the current efforts to rehabilitate Manila Bay as Manila Water continues to build more used water infrastructure and expand its sewer network to ensure proper treatment of used water prior to discharge to bodies of water.
The event dubbed as Toka Toka Partners Convergence 2019 saw three barangays within the East Zone concession area cited for having the highest desludging or septic tank siphoning availment rate. Barangay Kasilawan of Makati City came out on top with 95% availment rate closely followed by Barangay Tejeros, also of Makati City with 94.4%, and Barangay Muntindilaw of Antipolo City with 94.2%.
The 23 cities and municipalities within the service area of Manila Water, which includes the province of Rizal, were also recognized for their outstanding contributions to the advocacy campaign. These local government units provided very valuable support in the conduct of IEC sessions, volunteered for creek and river clean-ups, mobilized support for desludging activities, among others. These included Quezon City, San Juan City, Pateros, Taguig City, Makati City, City of Manila, Mandaluyong City and Pasig City from the National Capital Region as well as all the towns of Rizal Province which included Antipolo City and the municipalities of Binangonan, Cardona, Angono, Morong, Tanay, Cainta, Taytay, Teresa, Jalajala, Baras, San Mateo, Rodriguez.
National government agencies who continue to play active roles in promoting the Toka Toka advocacy program were similarly recognized. Among them are the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Health, Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission, Metro Manila Development Authority and the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System.
On another note, Manila Water Chief Operating Officer Geodino Carpio also requested the LGUs to hasten the issuance of permit to excavate facilitate the construction and laying of more sewer pipe systems. Carpio also shared that Manila Water now operates and maintains 40 sewage treatment plants which can treat more than 308 million liters of used water every day.
DILG, through Undersecretary Martin Dino, called on all barangays to support to the program and reiterated its key role in enforcing existing laws of water and used water management.
The event was well-attended by representatives from the different local government units as well as heads of departments from various national government agencies.