The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Department of Interior of Local Government (DILG) have adopted measures to mitigate the damage caused by Metro Manila floods by removing 20,000 informal settler families in eight priority waterways this year.
The move was announced by MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino and DILG Sec. Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd on Thursday during the Flood Summit in the House of Representatives spearheaded by House Metro Manila Development panel chair Winston Castelo of Quezon City.
Tolentino noted that the MMDA has cleared 15 major esteros, cleaned public markets, established additional pumping stations and upgraded equipment ahead of the rainy season in June.
“We have been improving the capacity of the pumping stations, upgrading their computer software for networking, doing flood simulation . . . but if you ask me if there would still be floods in Metro Manila, I would say there would still be floods,” he said.
“This is because of the topography of Metro Manila. A lot of areas really are below sea level, so what the government and the LGUs are trying to do is to mitigate [flooding],” Tolentino added.
Roxas, for his part, noted that the 20,000 informal settler families residing in the eight priority waterways will be removed from such high-risk zones and relocated by July.
The eight priority waterways are: Estero de Maypajo in Manila, Estero de Sunog Apog in Manila, the Pasig River, Estero Tripa de Gallina (that stretches from Manila to Makati and Pasay cities), the Tullahan River in Quezon City, the San Juan River, the Manggahan Floodway in Laguna de Bay and the Maricaban Creek.
There are 60,000 informal settler families living in waterways, including the 20,000 in the eight mentioned above. They will be relocated either to National Housing Authority resettlement sites, or in the medium-rise buildings which are onsite or near their previous residence.
The relocated settlers will only occupy the second floor of the medium-rise buildings, since the first floor whose vertical clearance is about eight feet will be left as it is so that the floods won’t reach the families living on the second floor.
“Contrary to popular belief, these families living in the waterways voluntarily want to leave the area because floods wash away the fruits of their labor such as their savings and appliances and threaten the safety of their love ones. When its raining at night, they can’t sleep because they are nervous that the flood water would reach their houses,” Roxas pointed out.
“By 2016, the whole 60,000 won’t be in the waterways anymore. We are on track,” Roxas added in closing.