By Atty. Rene Espina
A number of times in the past, I wrote about how urgent infrastructures in the Metro Manila area could be expedited. Since we have a relatively new administration, I shall write about it again in the hope that the past suggestions that I made could now be implemented.
For starters, let us remind ourselves that every year, we have about a dozen typhoons that hit our country or pass near our islands. Undoubtedly we need typhoons to bring much-needed water to our country. It is, therefore, not surprising that our cities and provinces, especially in Luzon and Metro Manila, are flooded several times a year. The floods in the Metro area don’t only occur in the places which are below sea level during high tide but also in those that are above.
It is a wonder why some areas in Quezon City and other places above sea level get flooded. Would the corresponding department take a good look why those areas are flooded? There are many reasons why those places are flooded. Some of them are the following: drains are clogged due to garbage, plastic bags, etc. undersized drainage sewer pipes, esteros filled with garbage or, worse canals and waterways are expropriated by private land grabbers either partly or completely.
The solution is obvious that I don’t need to even say it. Just implement the law.
In our City of Cebu, I had time and again pointed out why our downtown area of Colon corner Jones Avenue (President Osmeña) is flooded…because the canals bringing water into the sea have become so small because the reparian owners have encroached on the exit canals. Unfortunately no city administration has so far had the determination to enforce the law. So every year we hear the politicians talk about spending public works funds to solve the problem. What nonsense!
The other suggestion that I made years ago regarding the Metro Manila area was: Since the problem involves many wide districts involving the expenditure of billions, why not have a priority listing of which flood control will be constructed over a period of time and follow the listing to the letter. The priorities could be from the easiest to solve to the hardest and or from the least expensive to the most. One other idea could be to divide projects that are south or north of the Pasig river.
Another classification could be flooding outside the Metro area and inside the Metro area. What are the flood waters that could be enclosed by a dam for human consumption? When can we put more dams to increase our water supply and, in the process, reduce or eliminate the floods in our Capital Region?
I state that almost nothing is impossible to accomplish when it comes to controlling floods and land use. Our modern technology and equipment makes daunting projects achievable. Years ago, the Dutch decided to reclaim part of the North Sea which is about 15 percent of its present area. Holland’s national territory is equal to 41,850 square kilometers; 6,500 square kilometers of their territory was reclaimed from the North Sea. So, the floods from Metro Manila can be eliminated.
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