Aquino OKs implementation of flood control projectsBy Michael Lim Ubac
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines–President Aquino on Monday approved the implementation within two weeks’ time of “high priority” and “high impact” flood control projects such as the repair of breached dikes, upgrading of aging pumping stations, and clearing of clogged waterways.
The President expects that the projects, which will initially cost some P5 billion, to be finished in a year’s time.
However, for long-term flood mitigation measures, the government is looking at a whopping P352 billion to embark on a “flood management master plan for Metro Manila and surrounding areas,” which was reported by the INQUIRER on Sunday.
“But keep in mind this is over a long period–that the planning period was up to 2035,” said Secretary Rogelio Singson of the Department of Public Works and Highways.
The decision to prioritize flood control infrastructure projects was reached at a Cabinet meeting in Malacañang called by the President to assess the damages due to massive flooding following days of monsoon rains in Metro Manila and nearby provinces last week.
The President spoke for two hours with secretaries of concerned agencies dealing with weather forecasting and flood mitigation efforts.
Singson provided the media with a list of things to do at a briefing following the Cabinet meeting.
“We have a long list of identified high impact priority projects worth P5 billion. That’s what we are working on,” an upbeat Singson said at the briefing broadcast live over Radyo ng Bayan and PTV-4.
“Now, the master planners prepared a long list (or a) shopping list of structural mitigation measures (which will cost) a total of P352 billion (rounded off from P351.7 billion),” said Singson,
‘So that’s what we are scrutinizing now. We’re now identifying which ones are immediate, which ones are high priority, are high impact, which are medium and long term projects. So what we’re done, so far, is identify what we will do immediately,” said the public works chief.
First to be finished will be repairs on breached dikes, such as the one in San Fernando, Pampanga, which is only about 50-70 meters long, said Singson.
The other dikes needing immediate repairs are found in Central Luzon and Camanava (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela) area.
He said that some of the dikes in Malabon and Navotas “were already breached and therefore we need to fix that immediately, and also raise them.”
Second, the government will upgrade the pumping system in Metro Manila, and third, clear the waterways.
“Let me emphasize–this is a major intervention that needs to be done because as what I’ve mentioned earlier, the major cause of flooding is the over topping, overflowing of the river systems. And when are still erected structures in these (waterways), you reduce the capacity of those river systems. So we need to clear them, we need to dredge them, we need to improve the walls and embankment of these rivers, so that we’re able to restore capacities,” said Singson.