(Clockwise from top left) Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez, USAID Mission Director Lawrence Hardy II, MUAD-Negros Executive Director Reynic Alo, Coca-Cola Philippines President Antonio del Rosario, and Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines, Inc. President Ma. Cecilia Alcantara during the launch of new partnerships to support water security in the Philippines. | Photo by US Embassy in the Philippines

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched two partnerships to increase access to clean, safe, water sanitation, and sanitation services in the country in celebration of the World Water Day.

In a press statement released by the U.S. Embassy to the Philippines to the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), it said the partnerships launched by the USAID on March 23 were intended to help conserve watersheds, generate sustainable livelihoods, and watershed management.

The first partnership, with Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines, Inc. (CCFPI) and the Multi-sectoral Alliance for Development (MUAD)-Negros, will help conserve 12 watersheds and create sustainable livelihoods in Negros Occidental. The second partnership, with the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), will protect water resources in Palawan by improving watershed management.

Through these partnerships, USAID’s Safe Water project will leverage its science-backed studies, analyses, and expertise with partners’ human and capital resources to expand watershed protection that will help guarantee sustainable livelihoods.

USAID Philippines mission director Lawrence Hardy II led the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signing ceremony with Coca-Cola Philippines president Antonio del Rosario and Palawan governor and PCSD chairman Jose Ch. Alvarez.

“Watersheds play an important role in supplying clean water to communities. It is our global commitment in Coca-Cola to replenish and to protect our water resources. That’s why we are one with USAID and MUAD-Negros to protect these sanctuaries and to empower the lives of the people living near the watersheds,” said del Rosario.

“I am confident that our collaboration will empower communities to become better environmental stewards, uplift lives, and safeguard forests and watersheds through our collective efforts and partnerships to bring a water secure future for Filipinos,” added Hardy.

About 12 million Filipinos do not have access to safe drinking water, and 80 percent of the population is not connected to wastewater treatment services.

USAID promotes water security by working with governments, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations to increase access to water and sanitation services for vulnerable and underserved communities. USAID also supports improved water resource management to promote clean drinking water, food security, and economic growth.

Since 2013 alone, USAID has invested P1.5 billion ($30 million) to increase access to water supply and sanitation services for underserved communities.

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handles the online presence of Palawan News as its social media manager. When she has free time, she travels and writes about her adventures.