MANILA, Philippines - He did not only come with just relief packages in tow.
President Benigno Aquino on Thursday said government is now on the verge of coming up with a "long-term and permanent" solution to Metro Manila's perennial flood problem.
Speaking before evacuees of Marikina, Quezon City, Caloocan, Valenzuela, and Malabon whom he visited in 5 evacuation sites, the chief executive said Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson is now fine-tuning the details of a proposed dam and aqueduct tunnel project in upstream Marikina River.
The project is designed to help ease floodwaters at the Pasig, Nangka and downstream Marikina River.
Aquino also announced the construction of "super dikes" in other parts of Metro Manila.
"Talagang hinahanap natin ng paraan ano ba magagawa para hindi naman tuwing tag-ulan ay magiging tradisyon na ng buhay ninyo ang lilikas nang lilikas," Aquino said.
The upstream dam and aqueduct tunnel will help prevent at least 5,000 cubic meters of water from rushing downstream.
Singson told ABS-CBN News the water will be diverted instead to the Laiban watershed in Rizal.
An example of the proposed super dikes is the one intended for Valenzuela City: an 8-kilometer structure with a project cost of P2.2 billion.
The President asked for patience as he pointed out that these projects will take years to finish.
The details of some of these public works projects will be revealed next week, he added.
Aquino expressed satisfaction at residents who are finding temporary shelter in evacuation sites but he could not hide his frustration at those who, in spite of prodding from authorities, insisted to stay in their homes amid the rising flood waters.
"May ibang lugar po medyo sobrang tigas ng ating mga kababayang iba... kung may kaalaman tayong mapanganib dito, huwag na nating titigasan ang ating ulo na ilalagay natin na hindi kailangan isugal natin ang buhay ng ating mga mahal sa buhay," he pointed out.
Aquino asked the flood victims to be resilient and not allow calamities to bring their spirits down even as he assured that the national and local governments are there to help them out.
It was day 2 of the President's visit to evacuation sites.
On Wednesday, he led the distribution of relief packs in Muntinlupa City where 8 of 9 barangays were submerged by floods caused by the heavy rains.
Each relief pack consists of dry goods, a blanket, and pieces of clothing; each pack costs a total of P450.
On Friday, the President was joined by Singson, Energy Sec. Rene Almendras, Defense Sec. Voltaire Gazmin, Communications Secretaries Sonny Coloma and Ricky Carandang, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Francis Tolentino, Interior Secretary. Jesse Robredo, and the Department of Health (DOH) Usec. Eric Tayag.