For promoting water and environmental sustainability, a total of 21 individuals, institutions and programs were hailed as “water champions” at the World Water Day Awards 2019.

The awards were handed out during a ceremony that highlighted the nation’s observance of World Water Day on March 22, with the theme: “Hawak-Kamay, Tubig Kaagapay.”

National Water Resources Board (NWRB) Executive Director Sevillo David Jr. said that there were more awardees this year, compared to 18 in 2018.

“More and more are becoming our partners for securing our water future. Working hand-in-hand is truly key to addressing challenges in water security,” he said.

The awarding ceremony, held at the Novotel Hotel Manila at the Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City, was organized by the NWRB along with water concessionaire Maynilad.

In his keynote message, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles assured everyone that access to water remains a top priority of the Duterte administration, and that measures are being taken to avert a water crisis which could impact public health, food security, and economic growth.

Various awards were given by different institutions during the ceremony.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), through its River Basin Control Office, recognized the Pampanga River Basin Committee as “Bagani ng Katubigan” for its effective governance.

The Malabon City Environment and Natural Resources Office was named “Kampeon ng Katubigan” by DENR-National Capital Region for its various greening programs, including maintenance of a two-kilometer mangrove stretch in the city.

The DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau gave the Water Leadership Award to two individuals, namely: Franco Rino Apoyon, coordinator of Youth for Environment in Schools Organization of the Kabasalan National High School in Zamboanga Sibugay, and Arman Jay Dudas, team leader of Mimaropa Young Leaders based in Mindoro.

Two institutions received the NWRB’s Water-Wise Choice Award for compliance with water use regulations: St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City, and Don Pepe Henson Enterprises, Inc.

The Laguna Lake Development Authority, an attached agency of the DENR, named four “Kampeon ng Lawa” awardees this year. These were the Biñan City Centralized Material Recovery, Waste Processing and Transfer Station in Laguna; the YES to Green Program of Rizal Governor Rebecca Ynares; the Sta. Rosa Sub-Watershed Management Council; and Alberto Malvar of the Mount Purro Nature Reserve Park in Antipolo City.

The Camarines Norte District Engineering Office of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) was named as a “Planet-Wise Organization” for spearheading environmental projects in communities in its area of jurisdiction. The award was sponsored by the NWRB, DPWH, and Maynilad.

The Aboitiz Infracapital gave the “Kavontog Do’t Aweg” award to the Davao City Watershed Management Council. The name of the award is a Manobo term which translates as “Hero of the Water.”

Maynilad sponsored two Water Warrior Awards for this year. The Philippine Science High School Main Campus in Quezon City received the award under the Water Education category, while Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission Executive Director Jose Antonio Goitia received the award under the Advocacy Leadership category.

Four water districts were chosen as recipients of “Huwarang Lingkod Tubig” awards sponsored by the Local Water Utilities Administration. These were the water districts of Baguio City, Metro Naga, Silay City, and Isabela City.

The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System sponsored three awards this year, with the recipients as follows: Kaagapay sa Tubig Kanlungan ng Umiray award for General Nakar Sustainable Integrated Area Development Project; Kaagapay sa Tubig Kanlungan ng Ipo award for the Ipo Watershed Bantay Gubat; and the Kaagapay sa Tubig Kanlungan ng La Mesa to th Save La Mesa Watershed Project.

The World Water Day Awards were first given in 2015. It recognizes leaders of indigenous peoples, community workers, media personalities, local governments, academe-based organizations, and other institutions or organizations. #