‘Ondoy’ lessons dictate design of next Marikina City Hall
“Ondoy” gave them a bitter lesson—and a height to exceed.
The local government of Marikina will soon be constructing a new P100-million city hall designed to be more disaster-resilient, with the ground floor serving mainly as parking area and the second-floor offices situated 27.5 meters above sea level.
Those offices will be 4.5-meters higher than the flood level recorded in the city during the onslaught of the killer typhoon Ondoy on Sept. 26, 2009, which raised the water line to a staggering 23 meters.
In a recent Inquirer interview, Marikina Mayor Del de Guzman said the bidding process for the construction of the new city hall was under way. “[We’re expecting construction] to begin this year and completed in one and a half to two years,” De Guzman said on the sidelines of the Jan. 14 program where he delivered his State of the City Address.
The four-story building will rise next to the current city hall and cover a portion of McDonald’s Avenue. It will have the same features as the newly inaugurated P80-million Legislative Building located beside Freedom Park in Barangay Sta. Elena.
The Legislative Building houses the city council session hall, the offices of the vice mayor and that of the 16 city councilors, and several conference rooms. According to Vice Mayor Jose Fabian Cadiz, it is designed to be “flood-resilient and can withstand a 7.2-magnitude earthquake.”
De Guzman recalled how the local government’s operations were somehow paralyzed during the Ondoy disaster because all the first-floor offices in the current city hall were damaged by the flood, as the Marikina River swelled after nine hours of continuous rain.
To avoid a repeat, De Guzman said the new city hall, like the Legislative Building, would have offices located starting from the second floor while the ground floor would be reserved for parking space, which is also a problem among local government personnel.
The decision to build a new city hall was reached after an assessment conducted by the city engineering office found that the current structure, now about 70 years old, “may collapse in the event of a strong quake,” the mayor said.
Merely retrofitting the old structure, which was built before the government established a building code, would have “the same cost” as constructing a new one, De Guzman added.
But the current city hall would not be demolished as it would be “converted into a museum reflecting the history of Marikina.”
In the next few years, solar panels and rain-catching features would be installed in the Legislative Building and the same environment-friendly technologies would also be incorporated in the design of the new city hall, Cadiz said.
In his State of the City Address, De Guzman said his administration would target the continuous improvement of the city’s flood control systems, starting with the drainage line in Marikina’s 16 villages.
In an earlier statement in November, De Guzman said the local government was looking at the construction of two major flood-control projects in the city—a P450-million road dike and a water detention pond—to avoid a repeat of the devastation brought by Ondoy.
The planned 11.5-kilometer road dike will run from Marikina’s border with San Mateo, Rizal province to the border with Quezon City.
The detention pond would contain floodwater which the Marikina River could not hold and release the water once the floods subside.
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