• This is where your taxes go: Rain = Chaos

    7

    A SUDDEN downpour last Saturday night flooded so many streets in Metro Manila and caused monstrous traffic jams.

    We got caught in knee-deep water at the Buendia and South Superhighway Intersection but reports of flooded streets came from everywhere and brought traffic to a standstill. Some areas were waist-deep in floodwaters, making streets impassable to vehicles.

    Again, you have to ask, is this where our taxes go? Then it really makes you not want to pay them.

    If the widespread flooding last Saturday was a sneak preview of what’s in store for us during the rainy season then God help us. God help the kids who are returning to school this month, starting this week.

    Last Saturday’s deluge was what? One or two hours’ worth of rain? I shudder to think about what would happen with more monsoon rains or if a real storm came along and made a direct hit on the metropolis!

    I thought the government had been implementing its multibillion flood-control project for several years already?

    Do we have to grin and bear it until the project’s completion in 2035 (as Malacañang said before) before we see results?

    It couldn’t have helped at all that there are so many road projects and diggings underway all over in Metro Manila, some by the water companies, others by the Department of Public Works and Highways and still others by local governments. (Wasn’t the government reported to be underspending?)

    A lot of these projects I am sure are being rushed before the elections but the fact that they seem to be ‘ongoing’ forever speaks of the quality of the contractors hired for these projects. Perhaps a good chunk of their budgets went to pay ‘commissions’ to the powers that be that is why it takes so slow for them to be completed?

    I’m sure you have your own horror stories about last Saturday night’s floods.

    I know of a family whose short grocery run in Cash and Carry Supermarket in Palanan, Makati coincided with Saturday night’s downpour. By the time they were done with their groceries all the roads leading to their apartment, which was just a couple of blocks away, were already flooded at least knee-deep, some even waist-deep.

    There was nowhere to go, and so they sought refuge in the movie theater as the mall was already closing and asking people to leave, many of whom were stranded by the floods. Imagine, being so close to your home and yet so far.

    Tip to mall management and shop owners: when the mall is packed with stranded customers, is this not a good opportunity to show some goodwill and even make more money by staying open and accommodating them until the floods subside? Think about it. In fact, perhaps local governments can mandate this through local ordinances because many times the malls offer the only refuge to stranded commuters and motorists.

    Indeed, we have never seen such heavy flooding in many parts of the metropolis, and again only because of a relatively short downpour.

    Before, only the heaviest rains from strong storms triggered flooding, whereas nowadays even regular monsoons rains and intermittent rains can cause havoc on our roads and streets.

    Our floods today are the worst in decades, taking a considerable number of lives and causing extensive damage to our cities and provinces.

    We are very much troubled that this flooding could get worse, which is why the government must offer both long-term and short-term solutions, and the people must do their part.

    Again, we know there is a massive, multiyear and multi-billion flood-control program that the Aquino administration said would be completed in 2035, but this is too long and we simply can’t ‘grin and bear it’ for a very long meantime!

    This is the 21st century! You mean to tell us that even with the current technologies and innovations we can’t fast-track critical infrastructure like flood control?

    Passing the buck to successive administrations is unacceptable, especially after revelations that so much had already been lost to corruption and non-existent projects funded by pork barrel (both from the Congress and the executive).

    Metro Manila’s flood problem could be solved much sooner. Sure, it is not an overnight solution, but it is not like this problem hasn’t persisted for so long already. It’s not like we don’t already know that our drainage and other waterways are clogged with trash, squatters and subdivisions that should never have been built.

    Surely, with political will and a properly allocated and spent budget the government could minimize adverse flooding a lot sooner.

    If you are a dutiful taxpayer, it is really frustrating when you get caught in the middle of a flood like last Saturday night’s. Amidst the chaos and the helplessness, you wonder if there is really a government that looks after you or cares about you. You wonder where your taxes really go.

    “Ernesto Herrera”
    ernestoboyherrera@yahoo.com

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    7 Comments

    1. its true and i agreed to marcospolo… Mga ganid na negosyante walang alam kundi sipsipin ang dugo ng mamayang Pilipino at kanilang controlin ng economy na bansa . Pero wag ka dun lang sa Metro Manila nila ito ginagawa at puro mga MALLS lang ang alam nilang ipagawa. tanungin mo kung magpagawa sila ng mga Power plant, wala. Iyong pinagawa ni Ferdinnd Marcos na mga Power Plant ay ibinenta pa nitong Abnormal na Presidente sa mga kaibigan nila at kasosyo sa business.. Wala silang alternative na power plant kundi ang mag repair ng mga substation at hindi pa upgraded. Now, naunahan na kayo ng Solid North na magkaroon ng windmills at solar power para sa kanilang nasasakupan… Ang BNPP ayaw rin ni Abnoy na ipaoperate dahil kay Marcos ang may project nito??? Pathetic mind of this stupid, idiot zombie allies…of this govt.

    2. this also is the fault of the people sometimes. there are still a lot of squatters around the city and they litter the drainage including the common people have no respect to our drainage system what good is it if we trash our drainage system and get clogged? you still see garbage all over the city littered in sidewalks, residential areas and where do you think many of these end up? in the drainage system. No matter how big the flood control projects are if we do not properly maintain them then its useless and we will just continue to suffer. Not mentioning population explosion. due to not practicing family planning.

    3. A master plan for Metro Manila flood control was always developed by every new administration yet nobody knows the real problem of Metro Manila. You see, Metro Manila except for some areas like Quezon City is almost flat in terrain where the receiving body of water (Pasig River, Manila Bay, laguna Lake) is almost the same level of the land mass, so when an additional water comes in + the high tide, definitely the water will just flow back inward that causes floods. The most logical solution but a huge task of job to do is to close the Manila Bay by creating a dam from Cavite to Zambales. Once closed, we can reduce the water level of Manila Bay by 2-3 meters by using big pumps thus reducing also the water level of Pasig River & Laguna Lake. From here, with lower water level of the receiving body (River/Lake), we can now redesign our flood system. Its a huge task that will take 10-20 years to fulfill but if we start to plan & construct it now then our children in 20 years will never suffer the same suffering we are experiencing now. Beside the Manila Bay, in due time reducing its salinity content can be a source of drinking water in the future.

    4. There is a possibility that we could have avoided that Saturday night floodings if only Mar and Pnoy did not rescind the contract entered by GMA,the dredging Laguna Lake which could have served as flood catch basin . The more disappointing thing about this is we continue to pay the other party without the project being done because we lost in the case against them.

    5. Actually you are spot on with what you say but i wouldnt just completely blame this government. These problems havent just arisen with these. This has been happening year after year after year, but no government until this one has decided to do anything about it. On top of that they as you say are doing all these road works, well they are also very important & again were ignored by all previous governments. There is just so much that needs doing that whatever this or the next president starts to do perople will still suffer whilst its in progress.
      Our system in the uk i would say is good but each day every year we somewhere throughtout the country have roadworks & some really disrupt the traffic causing huge tailbacks especially during both daily rush hours, it just cant be avoided. Its a consequence of having roads, they get damaged & need repairing, thus causing hold ups, im sorry but we all need to just grin & bear it & be happy that at least something is now being done about it.

    6. iS It Correct on

      I hear you.
      Will Aquino and cohorts hear you? Did PGMA, Erap, FVR, Cory hear you?
      Is it cost-effective for admin and for shop owners to keep malls open?
      If not,
      they won’t hear you.

    7. Hahaha!itatanong pa ba natin ito!
      Noon tayo ang pinakamayaman sa buong Asia,pinaka develop at pinakamataas ang pinag-aralan!
      Kung ang tax ay napunta sa tama at mabuti!anong sinabi ng European sa atin!naturuan kasi ng pari ang mga pilipino,kaya ito! Hanggang sa ngayon baha lang di pa masulosyonan!
      Kung ang gobyerno ay inuna ang pagpapaulad ng bawat region,ikinalat sa bawat dako ang negosyo at nagawang mapaunlad ang malayong dako,hindi sana nagsisiksikan at napupuntahan ang lahat sa maynila! Sa sobrang ganid ng ibang negosyante,kinokontrol nila ang projects na dapat sa ibang lugar itayo,gusto nila doon sa mga negosyo nila makikinabang!