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National Research and Development Program for the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution

Human Resource and Institution Development Division (HRIDD)


1. National Research and Development Program for the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution

Call Rationale

The Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 (Republic Act No. 9275) aims to protect the country's water bodies from pollution from land-based sources (industries and commercial establishments, agriculture and community/household activities). It provides for a comprehensive and integrated strategy to prevent and minimize pollution through a multi-sectoral and participatory approach involving all the stakeholders. Under Section 24 of the Philippine Clean Water Act, Pollution Research and Development Programs, it states that, the DENR in coordination with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), other concerned agencies and academic research institutions, shall establish a “National Research and Development Program for the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution.” As part of the said program, the DOST shall conduct and promote the coordination and acceleration of research, investigation, experiments, training, survey and studies relating to the causes, extent, prevention and control of pollution among concerned government agencies and research institutions.

In addition, the PCIEERD S&T Water Environment Roadmap which was developed with collaborative efforts among National Government Agencies (NGAs), academe, non-government organization and other stakeholders, will serve as basis for the development of new programs and projects to be included in the Call, in consultation with the key stakeholders from the private sector, academe other government agencies and non-government/civic organizations. The revised roadmap sets the direction of the water sector which is also aligned with the different national programs such as the DOST’s Harmonized National Research and Development Agenda (HNRDA 2017-2022) and the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) to complement the SDG 2030 Agenda.

The Roadmap covering the period 2018–2022 envisions “Sustained ecological functions &

services of water ecosystems”. The missions formulated were as follow: 1) to provide S&T support for the enforcement of guidelines and standards under Philippine environmental laws; 2) to strengthen the R&D of cost-effective waste management, treatment options and cleaner production options to reduce water pollution of various industries; 3) to build capacity for good environmental governance. The updated S&T Water Environment Roadmap tackled the following:

1. Water Security and Sufficiency

2. Wastewater Treatment and Management

The rapid increase in population, urbanization, and industrialization reduces the quality of Philippine waters, especially in densely populated areas and regions of industrial and agricultural activities. The discharge of domestic and industrial wastewater and agricultural runoff has caused extensive pollution of the receiving waterbodies. This effluent is in the form of raw sewage, detergents, fertilizer, heavy metals, chemical products, oils, and even solid waste. Each of these pollutants has a different noxious effect that influences human livelihood and translates into economic costs. Untreated wastewater affects health by spreading disease-causing bacteria and viruses, makes water unfit for drinking and recreational use, threatens biodiversity, and deteriorates overall quality of life.

Recently, PCIEERD conducted a Focus Group Discussion (FGD), in coordination with other stakeholders from the national government agencies, industry and academe. This FGD provided a technological platform of reviewing the existing water roadmaps and addressing the current water and wastewater concerns. Some participants presented the current initiatives, challenges, and next steps/way forward.

As per NEDA report, more than 12 million people are limited to unsafe water sources owing to poor development and limited coverage of water districts (WD) and other water service providers (WSP). Inadequate sanitation facilities have been identified as an underlying concern for more than four million people who are constrained to practice open defecation while an additional two million are limited to using unprotected pit latrines or buckets. Access to water and sanitation services in the Philippines stands at 89.9 percent and 89.2 percent, respectively, as of 2017.

Historically, only about PHP 3 billion is appropriated by National Gov’t annually in WSS. Statistics show that approximately 1/8 people are getting water from unsafe sources, 1/5 people still use pit/hanging/bucket latrines, 8/10 people in the ARMM do not have access to flush to piped sewer systems or septic tanks, 1/25 people still practice open defecation, and ½ people in the ARMM do not have access to improved sanitation facilities.

The Industry Sector has identified gaps/needs such as (a) fragmented sector handling water and wastewater concerns; (b) lack of universal access to clean water and resource water masterplan;

(c) lack of available technologies that can treat effluent in compliance to DAO 2016-08 standards

(i.e., Phosphates, Ammoniacal-Nitrogen, Sulfates, Dissolved Copper, etc.); (d) challenges on microfiltration, disposal of sludge, used chemicals and resins; (e) and detection of the presence of CoViD-19 in wastewater. Despite the challenges, the industry sector is willing to share information/data, technical assistance, consultation and other collaboration in R&D.

Subsequently, the Government Sector also identified existing challenges in the water and wastewater sector. These are not limited to (a) inclusion of emerging contaminants in monitoring and regulating water bodies (e.g., resistant microbes, microplastics, nanomaterials, speciation of metals, antibiotic residues, veterinary drugs, feed additives, etc.); (b) degradation of water resources, shortage of water supply, irrigation water shortage and acute scarcity of water due to poor management during natural phenomenon; (c) challenges in monitoring and enforcement of existing regulations; (d) Unavailability of a centralized wastewater treatment plant for SMEs located to old existing economic zones; and (e) institutional fragmentation. Aside from the existing policy interventions, regulations, and programs on water and wastewater (e.g., DAO 2016-08, RA 9275, PEZA MC 2009-10, MARINA Circulars, BOI/PEZA incentives program, etc.), the government sector is also willing to provide available data and equipment.

As for the Academe Sector, the following were the concerns raised with respect to the conduct of R&D on water and wastewater, (a) need for an updated and dedicated equipment for wastewater analysis; (b) need for advance analytical equipment for monitoring; (c) weak academe-industry linkage (re: pilot-plant projects); and (d) lack of data availability from the industry. To leverage towards innovation, the academe sector is willing to provide the use of research laboratories/facilities, equipment, manpower, expertise and other technical assistance.

In summary, there is really a need to address the existing gaps/needs in water quality management and pollution control. The inputs from the stakeholders will help establish a

“National Research and Development Program for the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution (NRDP-PCWP.”

Recently, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued a Special Order (SO) for the preparation of the NRDP-PCWP where DOST-PCIEERD is a member of the Technical Working Group (TWG).

Call Scope

The Call for Proposal will support new interdisciplinary research and innovation. It tackles Sec.

24 Pollution Research and Development Programs, i.e., establish a National Research and Development Program for the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution. It is important to note that the program should be holistic in approach, closed loop technological interventions that are low-cost/cost effective and innovative, multi-disciplinary or trans-disciplinary to foster collaborative learning and inclusive solutions development with all stakeholders. Researchers from the environmental, social, and health sciences, stakeholders from NGOs, as well as public movements/civil societies could take part in this collaborative research. The trans-disciplinary approach envisions to jointly define the existing problem of water pollution and its health and other impacts. Participation of the industry /private partners is encouraged through a commitment letter and counterpart funding. In addition, concerned national government agencies/local government units should also be involved to ensure sustainability of the program. It is also necessary to seek for an endorsement/co-funding in cash or in kind from the end user to ensure buy-in of the developed technology. The proposals should also consider the socio-cultural, political, health and economic implications of water quality management and pollution control. The research should provide scientific data to support/lead to policy formulations and updating of the Philippine Clean

Water Act and the DENR Administrative Order 2016-08. It is also expected to establish a demonstration facility for the proposed technologies on water/wastewater including DOST/PCIEERD as the demonstration site.

Call Objective

The main objective of this call is to give special emphasis to research and development of improved methods and development of innovative technologies having industry-wide application for water quality management and pollution control. The following are the identified priority areas of R&D:

Priority Areas of R&D Budgetary



*To study and address concerns on Nutrient Management and Dynamics on Lakes (NICER Program)

• To address Emerging Contaminants in Water (e.g., Resistant microbes, Microplastics,

Nanomaterials, Speciation of Metals, Antibiotic residues, Veterinary drugs, Feed additives, etc.)

Use of IoT to improve data management and monitoring of water quality and wastewater effluents.

• To address disposal of sludge, used chemicals and resins from wastewater treatment processes.

30M 2023-2025

To address New Effluent Standards from DENR Administrative Order 2016-08 (particularly on Phosphates, Ammoniacal-Nitrogen, Sulfates, and Dissolved Copper)

10M 2023-2024

*To detect the presence of CoViD-19 and other infectious diseases in wastewater

33M 2022-2023

To develop technologies for water/wastewater quality (e.g., sensors, improved modular rainwater harvesting for drinking water, etc.)

10M 2023

Note: *Directed Call

2. National Research and Development Program for the Prevention and Control