Palace: Flood control better, but far from done


MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Friday, June 14, defended government efforts in flood control, but agreed much work needs to be done.

Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang appealed for patience as the government implements its flood control master plan. "We think that there has been some improvement already. We think that flooding might have been worse had it not been for some of these things. But, certainly, we would admit that it’s not finished yet and we still have a lot of work to do. So you’ll just have to bear with us while we’re implementing the plan," he said.

Among the efforts the government has implemented include flood drills, improved early warning systems, and increased coordination between agencies and other sectors. Part of the plan includes creating containment basins, cleaning up esteros, and relocating informal settlers among others.

Carandang warned the public, however, "that this is not going to happen overnight."

"[It] will take a few years to complete and you will see the improvement, vast improvement, only in a few years," he said.

On Thursday, June 13, heavy rains caused flooding in key areas in Metro Manila, triggering questions on what the government has done to alleviate the problem.

Do your part

The Palace also said it continues to review the allowances of meteorologists who work for PAGASA, the state's weather bureau, which has seen an exodus of personnel who had felt undervalued.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte told reporters they have fixed the issue on subsistence and laundry allowance, but are still reviewing their hazard pay and longevity pay. The government hopes to resolve these issues this year.

Valte also allayed fears that there would not be enough PAGASA forecasters, saying the government has successfully hired competent meteorologists.

But Carandang also reminded Filipinos to do their part in helping prevent flooding, as the government focuses on its own efforts.

"The other thing that we have to remember also is the government is doing its part, but we also need to be responsible citizens. The litter that comes out, that people tend to throw, also contributes to the flooding. So, if we all do our part, I think we can get this done faster," he said.

More than 20 typhoons hit the Philippines yearly, generating floods and landslides, which bring widespread death and damage. –