MANILA, Philippines – Waves taller than coconut trees hammered the 2-decade old sea wall in Manila Bay on Tuesday.
When the floods receded, authorities found the 750-meter long sea wall destroyed.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said the sea wall was damaged not because it was structurally weak but because the waves were too strong.
“Nabiyak itong sea wall bunga ng lakas ng alon. Tinamaan itong ilalim ng base, nagkaroon ng scouring. Ibig sabihin, lumambot ang base niya,” said Reynaldo Tagudando, DPWH regional director.
The sea wall is 3 meters tall. But over time, subsidence or water saturation happened, causing the soil that supports the sea wall to erode.
Aside from the sea wall, the waves also washed away the tiles along the bay walk.
The DPWH admits that the sea wall's design is old and outdated.
The agency's design bureau has now been tasked to design a new and modern sea wall that will be able to withstand typhoons stronger than “Pedring”.
“Initial estimate ay P30 million. Kung itataas siya o hindi man siya itaas, ang number one consideration namin ay ang tibay ng structure,” said Tagudando.
While the new sea wall is being built, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will use sand bags to reinforce the existing sea wall against storms.
“We will be providing around 450 sandbags. Itong debris talagang iipunin namin ito at ‘yung pwede gamitin ay kukunin ng city government of Manila, the rest will go to our landfill,” said MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino.
The DPWH aims to finish the sea wall as soon as possible, especially since PAGASA expects 6 more storms to hit the country this year.
Meanwhile, former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) chief Manoling Morato warned that the new PCSO office at the PICC in Pasay City is vulnerable to a tsunami.
Morato cited studies of Japanese experts, adding that typhoon Pedring destroyed the agency's ambulances, buses, as well as mobile clinics that cost P10 million each.