MANILA - Residents in the capital region were reminded Sunday to be responsible in disposing of their wastes and to ensure tributaries are not occupied to help avoid flooding as the rainy season in the Philippines has started.
"Disiplina lang... 'Wag tayong magtatapon ng basura sa maling lugar. Sa tamang lugar (lang), kung saan talaga sinasabi ng pamahalaan at sa tamang oras. Napaka-importante nu'n para pag-pick up, wala nang babara pa," Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Benhur Abalos told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
(Just be disciplined... Let's not throw trash anywhere. Place them in designated areas and as scheduled. That's important for the pick-up, so that it won't cause blockage.)
State weather bureau PAGASA on Friday afternoon announced the start of the rainy season in the country, after tropical cyclone Dante dumped heavy rains in parts of the country last week.
In a statement, PAGASA said intermittent rains brought by the southwest monsoon or habagat would still affect the capital region and the Philippines' western part.
Abalos said his agency would coordinate with local government units for the strict imposition of penalties on those caught improperly throwing garbage.
He said they would also review the siltation in each of the tributaries in Metro Manila.
As well, he is proposing a catch net in certain areas so trash will no longer flow into rivers and canals.
Garbage is the "number one cause" of flooding in Metro Manila as it blocks drainage, said Abalos. But its 273 waterways should remain clear and uninhabited, and siltation must be addressed, he added.
The MMDA chief said low-lying areas such as Araneta Avenue in Quezon City, Espana in Manila City, Buendia South Superhighway, Manila City Hall, and Maysilo in Mandaluyong City have to be monitored during heavy rains.
The agency is operating and maintaining 67 pumping stations, he said.
Metro Manila covers 16 cities and a municipality, and is home to around 12 million people.