Press Release
September 26, 2013

Recto: 'Stronger' Habagat rains spell more woes
for Metro's anti-flood efforts

The government should seriously take into consideration the increasing amount of rainfall being poured by monsoon rains when it crafts its over-all master plan on flood management in the National Capital Region.

This is according to Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto, as he is set to question officials from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) when the Senate commences hearing today on Resolution No. 6 he filed in July.

"Reports indicate that the Habagat rains last August - as affected by typhoon Maring - dumped more rainwater than it did in 2012. It was also stronger than Ondoy," Recto said.

"If this is true, then we should be bracing for heavier rains that will bring more rainwater and increase flooding in Metro Manila. The government should take note of this when it identifies projects under its anti-flood master plan."

His resolution calls for an inquiry into the viability of the approved P351-billion over-all master plan on flood management Metro Manila, which he described as by far the most ambitious and expensive flood control program ever conceived by the national government.

The Senate Committee on Public Works will be hearing Resolution No. 6 jointly with the Committee on Finance.

Recto said the recent onslaught of the Habagat in August proved that the government has yet to put in place an effective anti-flood mechanism as flood waters continue to debilitate almost the whole of Metro Manila.

"If I recall correctly, classes in all levels in Metro Manila were suspended for almost a week. Local governments were forced to cancel work and operations. And tens of thousands of families were evacuated due to flooding," he said.

"With this in mind, we should be thoroughly scrutinizing how the government intends to spend P351 billion in taxpayers' money in addressing the flood problem in Metro Manila."

According to Project Noah of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), rainfall amount for this August Habagat was at 600 millimeters in 24 hours, while Ondoy dumped only 455 millimeters in 2009 and the Habagat in August 2012 dumped only around 472 millimeters of rainfall.

He also took note of the recent monsoon rains that ravaged parts of Luzon this week.

"Although it did not affect Metro Manila in the same scale, look what it did to Olongapo City and some towns of Zambales. Should we wait for that to happen here in Metro Manila or any part of the country as well?" Recto lamented.

He also mentioned the flashfloods in June of this year which virtually crippled Metro Manila, submerging major roadways, clogged waterways, rendered intersections impassable and virtually paralyzed public transport, leaving thousands of commuters stranded.

In the resolution, Recto explained that the P351-billion flood control master plan, which took 22 years to make, was approved by the national government last year. Its implementation will be spearheaded by the DPWH.

The long-term plan, he added, would cover the infrastructure needs of 11 flood-prone areas in Metro Manila and nearby provinces and would see completion by 2035.

Recto said an initial seed money of P5 billion will bankroll the most urgent needs in terms of spending for the improvement of floodways and drainage systems and river capacities in Metro Manila, Central Luzon (Region III), and CALABARZON (Region IV-A).

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