DPWH ditches proposed catchment area in UST
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) clarified on Wednesday that it has abandoned its plan to build a retarding basin beneath a National Cultural Treasure inside the University of Santo Tomas (UST).
Public Works Secretary Rogelio “Babes” Singson said that they decided not to push through with the project beneath the UST open field after it was met with opposition from school administrators.
“Na-identify kasi namin yung flood prone areas, alam mo naman konting ulan lang, bumabaha na agad dahil lahat ng tubig nanggagaling mula sa Laong Laan, Retiro at Quezon City, diyan bumababa.
“Madali sanang masolusyonan (ang pagbaha) kung gagawa tayo ng retarding basin…ganon ‘yung sina-suggest naming solusyon diyan sa UST. But obviously, they have other concerns. Baka magiba daw ‘yung old structures,” Singson said.
(The retarding basin could have minimized flooding in areas near UST. But obviously, they have other concerns. They fear that old structures might collapse.)
He said that if they were given the green light for the project, they would have restored the open field to its present state.
Thus, they set their sights to other areas where they could build a flood catchment facility.
“Naghanap kami ng ibang solusyon, at yun na ang tinatawag naming Blumentritt catchment. In fairness, naghanap kami ng solusyon at hindi namin pinabayaan,” Singson said.
(We have found a solution, which we call Blumentritt catchment. In fairness, we found a solution and we did not stop in finding one.)
The Blumentritt interceptor catchment area, a 3.3-kilometer long and two-meter deep culvert, stretches all the way to Tondo. The P439-million project seeks to drain floodwater from Quezon City and Sampaloc area toward Manila Bay.
Singson said that with its expected completion by April or March next year, building a retarding basin in the centuries-old university is not needed anymore.
He said that UST students and residents near the area would have to bear with continued flooding.
“Yung ulan around UST, yun ang poproblemahin nila. Saan pupunta ang tubig na yan? Mag-iipon at mag-iipon yan sa loob ng UST,” Singson added.
(They will have to endure with floodwater which will flow to UST.)
President Benigno Aquino III took a swipe against “a big university” based in Manila for refusing to cooperate with the government in building a flood control project.
“For example: to address flooding in Manila, we pushed for the construction of a catchment area, which was protested by a particular university. They said that some of their old buildings might be affected by the project,” Aquino said in his sixth and last State of the Nation Address (Sona), his remark an obvious reference to UST.
The UST open field, where the flood catchment area was supposed to be built, was declared a National Cultural Treasure in 2010, along with other landmarks in the university such as the UST Main Building, Central Seminary and the Arch of the Centuries.
UST is the oldest university in Asia and was established in 1611.
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