735,000 people to be displaced by flood control projects, says DPWHBy Jerry E. Esplanada
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Public Works and Highways’ 2012 flood control master plan for Metro Manila and outlying provinces will result in the displacement of over 735,000 people, mostly squatters, not 100,000 as estimated by the Metro Manila Development Authority, according to a DPWH report furnished the Inquirer.
The report said the resettlement of squatter families living along rivers and other waterways will benefit millions of people in the regions involved.
Patrick Gatan, head of DPWH’s Project Management Office for Major Flood Control Projects, referred to the squatter resettlement program as a “perennial problem” in the implementation of public works projects. But “it’s one of the project requirements prior to the actual implementation or construction of flood control structures,” he said.
“The resettlement of both legal and illegal settlers has been part and parcel of flood control, road or bridges construction and other public works projects as DPWH secures what it calls project right-of-way,” Gatan told the Inquirer.
According to the DPWH report, the number of people to be displaced and those to benefit from the 11 priority flood control projects are as follows:
- Marikina large dam and the Pasig-Marikina River Improvement: 330,708 people to be displaced; 1.6 million people to benefit.
- Malabon-Tullahan River Improvement: 39,456; 298,000.
- Meycauayan River Improvement: 35,320; 250,000.
- East Mangahan Floodway and Cainta-Taytay River Improvement: 24,832; 227,000.
- West Mangahan Area Drainage Improvement: 3,200; 25,600.
- West Laguna Lakeshore Land Raising: 114,000; 114,000.
- South Parañaque-Las Piñas River Improvement: 30,278; 104,000.
- Land raising for small towns around Laguna de Bay: 299,879; 1.5 million.
- Improvement of inflow rivers to Laguna lake: 26,633; 260,000.
- Manila Core Area Drainage Improvement: 24,000; 270,000.
- Valenzuela-Obando-Meycauayan River Improvement: No estimates provided.
Asked about the master plan’s proposed budget of P352 billion, Gatan said those were “just initial estimates” and “may still go up.”
Gatan disclosed that “most of the flood control and drainage measures in Metro Manila were designed for only 5 to 10 years whereas “given a chance, we would like to build flood control structures designed for 100 years.”
He added, “Under DPWH’s new master plan, we are highly optimistic we’ll have a more effective and more comprehensive flood control program, definitely more effective and more comprehensive than the flood control plans devised in the 1940s by the then Bureau of Public Works, followed by those in 1954, 1975, 1984, and 2002.”
The DPWH’s 2012 master plan was based on a study funded by a $1.5 million grant from the World Bank and the Australian Aid for International Development.