About 500 members of a non-government organization gathered in Barangay Banaba extension in San Mateo, Rizal yesterday to pile up sandbags along Nangka River. The rudimentary defense against flooding and landslides from an adjacent hilly area will be tested soon as weather forecasters predicted three or more tropical cyclones this month, still the peak of the typhoon season.
San Mateo and neighboring Marikina as well as the communities around Laguna de Bay are badly in need of a more effective flood control program. As of yesterday, many of the communities remained flooded, with residents reporting health problems including skin infections even where makeshift bridges have been constructed so people can avoid wading in the stagnant water. Despite such problems, many residents don’t seem inclined to abandon homes that were built in the natural floodplain around the lake. The government will just have to devise better ways of flood control and disaster mitigation in these areas.
The other day the National Economic and Development Authority approved flood control projects nationwide for this year amounting to P6.87 billion. About P1.6 billion is allocated for flood pumps for Metro Manila and another P270 million for dredging of waterways. In the last torrential monsoon rains, several areas in Metro Manila and neighboring areas experienced unusually heavy flooding after water pumps operated by the Metro Manila Development Authority ran out of fuel.
Any project meant to ease flooding will be welcomed by the public. The government of daang matuwid will just have to make sure that implementation of the projects will be aboveboard even in the rush to put them in operation. The same goes for the other projects approved by the NEDA board the other day, which include new airports and the expansion of the Light Railway Transit 2. The total cost of the 11 projects is P67 billion. That’s a lot of taxpayers’ money that the administration should make sure will be utilized judiciously