As the month draws into a close, award-winning journalist Atom Araullo dives into the water crisis in The Atom Araullo Specials this Sunday (September 30).
The Philippines has a complicated relationship with water. On the one hand, it is surrounded by ocean. In a year, the country is hit by an average of 20 typhoons. But when it comes to clean, safe, and reliable sources of water, nine million out of more than 100 million people do not have access.
As Typhoon Ompong came barrelling through Northern Luzon, Atom headed to Cagayan Province where the typhoon made landfall. In just three days, Typhoon Ompong unleashed 170 mm of rain, almost at par with the average monthly rainfall in Tugegarao this September (200mm). Intense wind also damaged the local airport, several houses, and establishments.
At one of the evacuation centers, Atom met 64-year old farmer Rodento Sibaluka who was up all night, worried about his farm where he had P200,000 worth of corn. So when daylight came, Rodento rushed to the fields but was gutted to discover the damage done by Typhoon Ompong. The corn was supposedly ready for harvest in just two weeks.
For most of Metro Manila’s 12.8 million residents, access to clean water is as easy as turning on a tap. But thousands of informal settlers struggle daily to get this precious resource. In Tondo, Manila, Atom met Danilo dela Cruz, his wife Rhea, and their six young children. Danilo and his wife must set aside P50 every day to buy enough water for their household needs. With a daily income of only P280, there is very little money left for their daily needs.
Atom also travelled to Mindanao where about 20,000 Manobo live on Agusan Marsh. As is part of their culture, the Manobo live most of their lives on water. It is where they fish, build their homes, and source their drinking water. But Atom discovered that because of the increasing pollution in the lake, the community’s unique culture may soon disappear.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) warns that by 2040, the Philippines could suffer a severe water crisis if the government does not address water security challenges. Is the Philippines ready to address this crisis?
Join Atom as he dives into the waterscape in “The Atom Araullo Specials: Daloy, A Water Crisis”, this Sunday, 4:30 pm on GMA 7.