PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd on Thursday asked for more patience as government agencies attempt to resolve the problem of perennial flooding especially in Metro Manila.
He admitted his government’s “limitations” in addressing such serious concern.
Aquino spoke on two occasions during the day and in both gatherings he talked about what the government is doing to prevent floods based on their supposed master plan.
“Nagsisikap nga tayong tugunan ang lahat ng kayang tugunan, at ang panawagan ko po: Makiisa at dagdagan ang pang-unawa at pasensiya,” he said in his speech before school officials and students of the Rizal Technological University. Prior to this, Aquino inspected the Manggahan Residences Phase I in Pasig City.
Aquino explained that there is a “simple” explanation as to why Metro Manila and its environs are prone to flooding. First, he said that water from the Sierra Madre mountain ranges flow down to small rivers and tributaries that are not large enough to contain the volume of rainwater.
Second, he said catch basins like the Laguna de Bay and even Manila Bay are heavily silted.
“Aaminin ko po: Lahat ng prob¬lema, gusto nating tugunan—at kung puwede, nagawa na sana natin ito kahapon pa. Pero may mga limitasyon sa kung ano ang maaari nating gawin, at hindi naman puwedeng agad-agad ang pagpapatu¬pad sa isang hakbang,” said Aquino.
The president bewailed that in Me-t¬ro Manila, only Manila and Ma¬kati City have sewerage and septic systems.
Besides these structural deficiencies, Aquino noted that the government is facing a number of litigations on the issue of “right of way.”
Because the National Capital Region has not enough drainage systems and clogged spillways, Metro Manila and surrounding provinces are flooded when there’s a downpour.
“Ngayon, ang solusyon po natin: Kailangang komprehensibo, buo, at malinaw na Flood Management Master Plan na iprinesenta ni (Public Works) Secretary (Rogelio) Babes Singson kanina. Kasama po dito ang ginagawang Main Drainage Project para sa Mandaluyong,” Aquino further said.
The Manggahan Spillway housing program is a series of housing projects aimed at relocating residents away from the spillway to prevent clogging and risk to lives and health.
The project is being implemented by the Department of the Interior and Local Government and National Housing Authority that also aims to keep people away from “danger zones” and for their communities to “build back better” after calamities.