MANILA - The Department of Public Works and Highways unveiled Thursday the master plan for flood control in Metro Manila ahead of the rainy season in the Philippines.
DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson said the master plan is designed to address three major causes of flooding including the amount of rainfall flowing from the Sierra Madre Mountains to the rivers, the drainage capacity constraints in Metro Manila and low lying-communities.
The flood management plan covers Metro Manila, Rizal, Laguna and parts of Bulacan and serves to benefit around 17 million people.
Singson said government is eyeing non-structural flood-mitigating measures like clearing up the floodplains, and structural ones like constructing detention basins and drainage bins in flood-prone areas and a dike running from Taguig to Calamba.
"Pag hindi natin in-address in a permanent way itong flood management dito, an Ondoy, Pablo or Yolanda hitting this area could affect 50% our [gross domestic product] immediately," he said during today's flood summit.
The public works official said reviving the floodplains would mean acquiring properties and constructing retarding basins.
"We want to improve the carrying capacity otherwise we will continue to have flooding in Metro Manila. Kasama yung pumping stations sa Metro Manila para malinis labas ng tubig," Singson said.
The government will also strengthen the flood warning system and promote reforestation of the Sierra Madre area.
Singson said government hopes to complete 44 flood control projects by July this year.
A study by international reinsurance company Swiss Re earlier identified Metro Manila as the world's second riskiest "city" in terms of natural disasters waiting to happen including floods, storms and earthquakes.
Meanwhile, Metro Manila Development Authority chief Francis Tolentino said modern pumping systems are scheduled to be installed in several cities in Metro manila to reduce flooding during the rainy season.
MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said some of the current pumping stations are already more than 40 years old and are no longer capable of draining water effectively.
The new pumps will arrive before the end of the year.
Tolentino, however, said the pumps will not totally eliminate flooding.
"Babaha pa din ho. Kahit baguhin natin lahat yan babahain pa din tayo. What government is trying is to mitigate, maibsan ang epekto ng baha sa bansa para hindi makapinsala sa ating mga kababayan," he said.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government is also seeking to clear informal settlers from the banks of eight priority river areas to make waterways more flood-resilient.
DILG Secretary Mar Roxas said the government has identified more than 100,000 families living in danger zones and it plans to relocate about 20,000 of those families every year.
He also highlighted the government's temporary relocation fund for informal settlers to enable them to rent housing for one year, away from the waterways.
"Dahil nga time is of the essence, mabilisan dapat ito at nang sa ganun ay makapasok na ang equipment ng DPWH at MMDA dito sa mga lugar na ito. Nagkaroon ng dagdag na programa, dagdag sa pangkaraniwan na resettlement or relocation ng mga informal settlers. Ito yung nadinig na ninyong 18,000 per year or 1,500 per month na ang tawag ay rental or temporary relocation fund ng sa ganun ay makalikas na muna, makaalis na muna ang pamilya dun sa kinalalagyan nila," he said.
Roxas said some 4,400 families have already been moved from danger areas this year. Report from ANC.