MMDA convenes disaster council due to rains, floodsBy Niña Calleja
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines–Metropolitan Manila Development Chair Francis Tolentino convened the Metro Manila Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council on Monday morning as southwest monsoon rains brought by Tropical Storm “Maring” continue to pummel the capital.
At least 807 families in Metro Manila have been evacuated from their inundated homes to safer grounds as of 8 a.m. on Monday, a report at the Flood Control Information Center (FPIC) at the MMDA showed.
During a meeting with officials of other government agencies including the Department of Social Welfare Department and the National Capital Regional Police Office, Tolentino said troops and equipment for rescue operations have been prepositioned to prepare for worsened flooding later Monday until the following day.
“I see a bigger problem if the rain will persist until (Monday) tonight,” Tolentino said. He urged officials of local government units to start evacuation even before the water levels in the major waterways reach the critical levels.
“We have experienced Habagat last year so I think we are more experienced to handle this one,” he said.
Edgardo Ollet, senior vice chair of Metro Manila disaster council, said even if the rains will continue to pour until
Wednesday, the local governments should not be “caught flat-footed” and prepared to bring the residents to safety.
The nameless monsoon rains in 2012 which the public called “Habagat 2012″ caused massive floods and destruction in most of Metro Manila.
MMDA General Manager Cora Jimenez said the FPIC has been responding to calls for help from stranded commuters and residents of communities under water since the intense and nonstop rains Sunday night.
Meanwhile, the Pasay city government made an urgent appeal to residents who have been brought to the city’s evacuation centers to stay put until they are advised to return to their homes.
Pasay City Mayor Antonino “Tony” Calixto made the appeal in reaction to numerous reports that some families have been leaving evacuation centers to return to their houses despite the continuous rains.
Pasay’s information officer Jonathan Malaya said that a total of 84 families from 10 barangays have been evacuated by the Pasay Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Office (DRRMO). The evacuation centers include a gymnasium, day care centers, and various barangay halls.
He said that barangays seriously affected by the flooding are Barangay 177, 179, 181, 182, 184, 186, 190, 191, 193 and 201, 132 and 185, all in Pasay City.
“The Pasay DRRMO is in constant coordination with barangay officials regarding the situation and rescue efforts are on-going as we speak,” Malaya said.
Malaya said that the city’s DRRMO and the various barangays are implementing a color-coding system and spotters have been assigned to monitor the flood situation in each of the danger zones.
“The spotter is the one who informs the barangay chairman if the floodwaters already reached the yellow level which means the residents need to be alert or ready. When it reaches the orange level, they should be on standby for evacuation and when it hits red, that means evacuation,” he said.
He explained that the Barangay Chairs will be on top of the situation as they will be the ones to make the announcement if the flood alarm is yellow, orange or red.