Great floods to become familiar sight in Metro Manila – DENR chiefBy Karen Boncocan
MANILA, Philippines – Let’s get used to great floods.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources on Wednesday said that intense rains and massive floods which can submerge 50 percent of Metro Manila will most likely become a familiar sight to the public.
In a statement, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said that the country will experience more severe dry seasons and stronger rains dumping massive volumes of water in a matter of hours, pegging the peculiar weather conditions as the “new normal” brought about by climate change.
“There is nothing we can do but adapt to climate change and the only way we could be prepared for the impact of climate change is to accept that these recent developments in our country like intense weather disturbances, heavy rainfall, as well as long dry season are now the new normal,” he said.
He urged the public and other Cabinet officials like Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo to heed the warnings from authorities.
Case in point was the landslide which buried and killed nine persons in Quezon City on Tuesday. This area was already considered a danger zone, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista said in a television interview Wednesday. Paje said that he would ask the local government to declare the area as a permanent danger zone.
The government has been working on long-term solutions to minimize civilian casualties and damage to infrastructure during disasters.
Aside from working with the Department of Agriculture to develop rice varieties which are resilient to climate change, the DENR is also working with the Department of Public Works and Highways to construct small water impounding dams in the uplands which will store rainwater and prevent flooding.
From being a nuisance to people, rainwater when collected will be considered a “precious resource because you can use it during the dry season,” added Paje.
The agency’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau is also busy working on bigger geohazard maps with a scale of 1:10,000 unlike its earlier versions which had a scale of 1:50,000. The new maps will be given to villages.