Metro Manila anti-flood in­fra­struc­tures

Manila Bulletin - - Views • Features - By ATTY. RENE ESPINA FOR­MER SEN­A­TOR

ANUMBER of times in the past, I wrote about how ur­gent in­fra­struc­tures in the Metro Manila area could be ex­pe­dited. Since we have a rel­a­tively new ad­min­is­tra­tion, I shall write about it again in the hope that the past sug­ges­tions that I made could now be im­ple­mented.

For starters, let us re­mind our­selves that ev­ery year, we have about a dozen ty­phoons that hit our coun­try or pass near our is­lands. Un­doubt­edly we need ty­phoons to bring much-needed wa­ter to our coun­try. It is, there­fore, not sur­pris­ing that our cities and prov­inces, es­pe­cially in Lu­zon and Metro Manila, are flooded sev­eral times a year. The floods in the Metro area don’t only oc­cur in the places which are be­low sea level dur­ing high tide but also in those that are above.

It is a won­der why some ar­eas in Que­zon City and other places above sea level get flooded. Would the cor­re­spond­ing depart­ment take a good look why those ar­eas are flooded? There are many rea­sons why those places are flooded. Some of them are the fol­low­ing: drains are clogged due to garbage, plas­tic bags, etc. un­der­sized drainage sewer pipes, es­teros filled with garbage or, worse canals and wa­ter­ways are ex­pro­pri­ated by pri­vate land grab­bers ei­ther partly or com­pletely.

The so­lu­tion is ob­vi­ous that I don’t need to even say it. Just im­ple­ment the law.

In our City of Cebu, I had time and again pointed out why our down­town area of Colon cor­ner Jones Av­enue (Pres­i­dent Os­meña) is flooded... be­cause the canals bring­ing wa­ter into the sea have be­come so small be­cause the repar­ian own­ers have en­croached on the exit canals. Un­for­tu­nately no city ad­min­is­tra­tion has so far had the de­ter­mi­na­tion to en­force the law. So ev­ery year we hear the politi­cians talk about spend­ing public works funds to solve the prob­lem. What non­sense!

The other sug­ges­tion that I made years ago re­gard­ing the Metro Manila area was: Since the prob­lem in­volves many wide dis­tricts in­volv­ing the ex­pen­di­ture of bil­lions, why not have a pri­or­ity list­ing of which flood con­trol will be con­structed over a pe­riod of time and fol­low the list­ing to the let­ter. The pri­or­i­ties could be from the eas­i­est to solve to the hard­est and or from the least ex­pen­sive to the most. One other idea could be to di­vide projects that are south or north of the Pasig river.

Another clas­si­fi­ca­tion could be flood­ing out­side the Metro area and in­side the Metro area. What are the flood wa­ters that could be en­closed by a dam for hu­man con­sump­tion? When can we put more dams to in­crease our wa­ter sup­ply and, in the process, re­duce or elim­i­nate the floods in our Cap­i­tal Re­gion?

I state that al­most noth­ing is im­pos­si­ble to ac­com­plish when it comes to con­trol­ling floods and land use. Our mod­ern tech­nol­ogy and equip­ment makes daunt­ing projects achiev­able. Years ago, the Dutch de­cided to re­claim part of the North Sea which is about 15 per­cent of its present area. Hol­land’s na­tional ter­ri­tory is equal to 41,850 square kilo­me­ters; 6,500 square kilo­me­ters of their ter­ri­tory was re­claimed from the North Sea. So, the floods from Metro Manila can be elim­i­nated.

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