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JICA, LWUA, Metropolitan Cebu LGUs, and MCWD gear up for a comprehensive sewerage master plan study

To improve living conditions and boost industries

Japan International Cooperation Agency
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Japan International Cooperation Agency

The Master Plan aims to align with the policy of Mega Cebu Roadmap 2050, one of whose targets is to increase the wastewater treatment rate to as much as 90% in all of eight local government units, namely the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, & Talisay; Liloan, Consolacion, Compostela, & Cordova.

A comprehensive sewerage master plan study to create a better living environment and boost Metropolitan Cebu's industries, including tourism, is ready to work now to help make the city more livable and adaptable to its rapid growth in the long-term.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Japanese government's Official Development Assistance (ODA) agency, together with the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) and Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) signed the Record of Discussions for the Project for Master Plan Study on Comprehensive Sewerage System Development on 11 April 2024. The Master Plan, which will set strategies and action plans until 2050, aims to align with the policy of Mega Cebu Roadmap 2050, one of whose targets is to increase the wastewater treatment rate to as much as 90% in all of eight local government units (LGUs), namely the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, and Talisay; and the municipalities of Liloan, Consolacion, Compostela, and Cordova in their jurisdictions.

JICA Chief Representative SAKAMOTO Takema said that “Modernized wastewater treatment is crucial to expanding big regional hubs like Metropolitan Cebu, whose people need better sanitary environment for living and industries, including tourism. Also, it should be noted that, on the business side, global investors, including Japanese, are more likely to aspire to invest in places where the business climate is not only friendly, but also considerate of the environment.”

JICA has been actively playing a key role in Metropolitan Cebu’s sustainable development for the past decades, including cooperation in areas such as waste management, disaster risk reduction, socioeconomic infrastructure, and as of late, the participation of Japanese private sector in implementing development cooperation projects. For example, JICA is closely working with MCWD to have a new Septage Treatment Plant to improve the wastewater management practice in Metropolitan Cebu through the grant aid program. Besides, Japanese companies Guun Co. Ltd., and Takematsu Shoji Co. Ltd., recently spearhead a feasibility study under the JICA Partnership with the Private Sector Program in Metropolitan Cebu to launch a waste treatment technology that can turn solid wastes into alternative fuel, soil conditioner, or high-quality food wastes to animal feeds.

JICA and MCWD will prepare a sewerage master plan for the target eight (8) LGUs mentioned above within three (3) years.

Said initiative also answers the requirement in the law under the Clean Water Act of 2004 for LGU and private sector participation in water management and water quality improvement in their jurisdictions.

According to MCWD, wastewater in Metropolitan Cebu is hardly treated in a proper manner, which posts serious concerns in public health and protecting the water environment. With the rapid population growth and vigorous economic growth in Metropolitan Cebu, it is undoubtfully expected that more water supply will be needed, and more wastewaters will be generated. In the eight (8) target areas alone, it is expected that the 2.4 million population in 2017 is estimated to increase to about 3 million by 2025 and 3.3 million by 2030. The urgent call for action to start taking measures in increasing wastewater treatment capacities and coverage is crucial now.

When untreated, wastewater pollutes waterways and beaches that leads significant impact not just water supply but also living environment and industries, especially tourism. Metropolitan Cebu's economy is the fourth largest in the country, accounting for P1.2 trillion1 in 2022.

MCWD General Manager Edgar Donoso said, “The sewerage project in Metro Cebu holds great significance for us as it aligns with MCWD's mission to provide sustainable water services to our consumers, prioritizing environmental preservation and public health.”

"The Master Plan is a critically important opportunity for us to work together to shape Metropolitan Cebu's future. When there's better water management, cities like Cebu can adapt better to rapid growth in sustainable way. This is just what JICA is aiming for," added SAKAMOTO.

LWUA Administrator, Atty. Jose Moises “Joy” Salonga and JICA Chief Rep SAKAMOTO Takema.

From left to right, Yokohama Sewage Works Management Environmental Planning Bureau Director NISHITAKA Kosaku, JICA Senior Rep. IDE Soichiro, MCWD Gen. Manager Edgar H. Donoso, and DPWH Region VII Maintenance Division Chief, Engr. Faustino A. dela Cruz Jr.


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