The Report of the Department of Education about 63 public schools in the city having no access to clean water should give us pause.
After all, the city has always claimed to have one of the cleanest and safest drinking waters in Asia, if not the world.
So why is Davao City–with its rich watershed resource—allowing its kids to risk their lives whenever they need to drink?
Water is a basic human right. This was enshrined in the The United Nations General Assembly resolution adopted in July 2010.
While we have no statistics in Davao City on water-related or sanitation-related diseases, the UN said that an estimated 1.5 million children 5 years old and below die each year due to lack of access to clean water and sanitation.
The streams and rivers have become dirtied with contaminants, which puts kids living near them at risk of contracting cholera, typhoid fever, diarrhea, skin allergies, and other water-borne diseases.
Diarrhea is a preventable but fatal disease. According to the World Health Organization, 52,000 kids under 5 years old die each year due to diarrhea. But in remote areas, parents often resort to other methods with no health facilities nearby and no access to anti-diarrhea medications.
We can only imagine how many kids have died in the city’s remote areas because some of these cases were unreported.
In light of this, we would like to commend the Safe Water for Children program, which is initiated by GiftingLife and the DepEd to address the demand for clean drinking water. The program will focus on remote areas that are not reached by the water utility company.
Some of the problems they see include the absence of water source, as well as the lack of infrastructure to deliver water to households and schools. The project is already being pilot-tested in six schools in the city. We pray the outcome to be positive so the Safe Water for Children project can be quickly replicated to other at-risk communities.