MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) recently launched a new master plan for flood management on Thursday, May 8, during the Flood Summit at the House of Representatives.
The plan covers Metro Manila and surrounding places, including Laguna, with a total area of 4,354 km2. It also aims to protect a population of 17.1 million people.
The summit was organized by the congressional committee on Metro Manila development headed by Quezon City 2nd District Representative Winston Castelo.
Identifying the causes
DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson said 3 causes of flooding were identified: the large volume of water from the Sierra Madre, limited capacity of drainage in core areas, and communities in low-lying places surrounding Manila Bay and Laguna Lake.
To address these problems, he cited long-term solutions the government plans to implement including improvements of infrastructures such as dams, retarding basins, road dikes, and rehabilitation of pumping stations.
Manila currently has 59 km of drainage system, 689 km open waters, and 897 km drainage laterals.
The estimated cost of implementation of the plan is more than P 351 billion, with the Pasig-Marikina river and dam construction getting the biggest share at more than P 198 billion.
The department is also working on restoring flood plains by acquiring private properties on these areas.
According to Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Francis Tolentino, flooding will always exist due to Manila’s topography.
“Metro Manila can never be flood-free but it can be resilient,” he said.
But the road to resilience starts with community efforts. Tolentino admitted MMDA cannot control the waste coming from residential areas.
The MMDA is currently in the process of rehabilitating 12 pumping stations while DPWH will fund 6 pumping stations this year.
Tolentino also said he is frustrated MMDA could not control waste and that trash always get stuck in their modern equipment.
Manila 2nd riskiest
Meanwhile, Neric Acosta, the General Manager of the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), emphasized the vulnerability of Manila to disasters.
The Philippine capital is 2nd riskiest in the world to natural disasters next to Tokyo, according to Acosta.
Singson also said that if a typhoon with the same strength as Yolanda hit Manila and nearby areas, almost 50% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will immediately be affected.
He emphasized that local government units should make sure that their constituents recognize the importance of cooperation when it comes to strenghtening Flood Risk Management (FRM).
With the new Flood Management Master Plan devised and implemented, the officials hope that the country’s capital will be ready for the coming rainy season. – Rappler.com
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