The Joint Programme on Promoting Water and Sanitation Access, Integrity, Empowerment, Rights and Resiliency (PROWATER), together with Jose Rizal Memorial State University, has successfully pulled off the two-day Regional Knowledge Exchange last December 19-20, 2016 at Dakak Park and Beach Resort, Dapitan City.

This Knowledge Exchange has focused on reporting of actions conducted during the year 2016 by the Regional Water and Sanitation Hubs and the Local Government Units and on mapping out their current capacities and level of institutionalization. It also served as a venue to dissect the integrated water, sanitation and hygiene (iWaSH) concept and to understand how it is being implemented on the ground. Issues and solutions were also identified to improve the iWaSH implementation at the national, regional and local levels.

“We were capitalizing on this as a come-on strategy to attract more donors because we have 455 municipalities to go and we are only covering 10 municipalities now,” according to PROWATER National Coordinator Jaime Antonio, Jr.

“Let us together empower the citizens with our communities with access to sustainable safe water and sanitation services,” said Faisal O. Abutazil, Regional Director of DILG Region IX.
One of the highlights of this event is “The Water and Sanitation System of Dr. Jose P. Rizal,” a tribute paper presented by Prof. Rex Hamoy of Jose Rizal Memorial State University. It was a walkthrough of the time when Dr. Jose Rizal made the water works in Dapitan City during his exile.

“Dr. Jose Rizal took advantage of Fr. Sancho’s presence in Dapitan. One of the interests of Fr. Sancho was drinking water. He had some instruments to test whether the water was potable or not; in today’s standards this would be crude instruments. So Rizal took advantage of it or perhaps he was also mindful as a doctor. He was very sure that we would use that water for good,” stated by Prof Hamoy during the open forum when asked about the importance of water analysis during those times.

This Knowledge Exchange has been attended by 45 participants from UNDP, DILG, UNICEF, local government units, academe, water districts and civil society organizations.