With the onset of the rainy season, the government’s flood mitigation program will shift to high gear, Malacanang said on Sunday.
In an interview over state-run Radyo ng Bayan, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will implement the flood mitigation program under a comprehensive master plan that aims to lessen the impact of floods in the metropolis and neighboring provinces.
The two agencies oversee the implementation of the flood management master plan that was rolled out in 2013 after years of studying the causes of the deadly floods triggered by Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng.
“For Metro Manila, the following projects are being implemented: the rehabilitation of 15 major pumping stations; rehabilitation of drainage channel (removal of obstructions within drainage channels with settlements, dredging and declogging, rehabilitation of drainage mains); and additional drainage mains and box culverts,” Coloma said.
“Under the same master plan, there are also non-structural measures such as the improvement of flood information and warning systems, strengthening of community-based flood risk management, better management information system (MIS) for disaster risk management, and massive reforestation and also management of watershed areas,” he added.
He said all structural and non-structural measures are in preparation for the coming of the wet season, when the country is pounded by at least 20 typhoons.
The DPWH has set up the Blumentritt Interceptor Catchment Project and many other flood control and drainage improvement projects while the MMDA is in charge of constructing pumping stations, repair of riverwalls, clearing of waterways and construction of higher pavements.
“The plan aims to ensure the safety of more than 20 million residents of 16 cities and one municipality in the National Capital Region, and the 43 towns and cities in the Calabarzon (Calamba, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal Quezon province) and the eight towns and cities in Bulacan province,” Coloma said.
After the deadly floods triggered by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng in September and October 2009, respectively, that caused severe damage in Metro Manila and surrounding areas, the World Bank provided a technical grant in the amount of $1.5 million under the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery Trust Fund of the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).
A flood risk assessment study for the entire Metro Manila and surrounding basin area was undertaken from February 2011 to February 2012 to prepare a comprehensive flood risk management plan for the same and to determine a set of priority structural measures, which will still undergo individual feasibility studies and detailed design prior to implementation, including nonstructural measures that will provide sustainable flood management up to a designated safety level and serve as the roadmap/vision of the government until 2035, or 23 years from the time the plan was conceptualized.
The study area covers the entire Metro Manila and the surrounding areas, particularly the provinces of Rizal, Laguna and parts of Bulacan, with a total area of 4,354 sq. km or 435,400 hectares, which is seven times the size of Metro Manila and two-thirds that of Singapore.
It also encompasses the Pasig-Marikina River Basin, Malabon-Tullahan, Meycauayan, South Parañaque-Las Piñas, and the Laguna Lake Basins, including drainage basins. Administration Areas in and around the study area include 16 cities and one municipality in the National Capital Region (NCR), 63 cities/municipalities in the CALABARZON area and eight cities/municipalities in Bulacan with a population of 20,433,722 in and around the Study Area and estimated population of 17,147,658 in the study area.