Manila to spend P20-M for ambitious disaster-mitigation system

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 11 2019 10:38 PM

MANILA—Manila is set to spend P20 million to update the city's land-use plan and install "advance" sensors that could detect flooding, Mayor Isko Moreno said Wednesday.

The local government hopes this addresses findings that consider the capital the least resilient city in Metro Manila

The package designed by the University of the Philippines Resilience Institute (UPRI) includes the installation of at least 70 cameras linked to a command center, and the creation of hazard maps and land use development plans, UPRI executive director Mahar Lagmay said.

"Maglalagay kami ng forecasting sensors na umaamoy sa hangin, sinusukat 'yung ulan at water level sa kalye," Lagmay told reporters after Moreno approved UP's pitch.

"Para silang (sensors) mga robot na nag-uusap-usap para 'yung desisyon ni Mayor Isko ay may basehan," he said. "This is the latest and most advanced if not in the country, then in the world."

Data from the UPRI showed the following disaster-mitigation programs will be done under the 2-year project:

YEAR 1

  • Land Use and Development Plan Updating - P7.5 million
  • Internet of Things-based decision support system (installation of •sensors) - P3.5 million
  • Enhanced Climate and Disaster Risk Assessment - P2.5 million
  • Institutional Analysis and DRRM System Development - P1.5 million

YEAR 2

  • Action Planning - P2.5 million
  • Capacity Building (emergency simulation and training programs) - P1.5 million
  • Development of Risk Communication Products - P1 million

FASTER CLASS SUSPENSIONS

The system will allow the local government to quickly decide if classes need to be suspended, Moreno said, acknowledging that his office has received flak for delayed announcements.

In recent months, the city — due to the lack of a relevant command center — would either wait for state weather bureau PAGASA to raise a yellow rainfall warning or ask roving units to physically check an area before calling off classes.

In 2014, Manila installed 275 cameras to establish the backbone of communication in the city, Moreno said.

What should have been Metro Manila's "largest command center" was used as the collection area of the city's parking bureau, he said.

"I have no idea why that happened because I was not mayor at that time," said Moreno, who was a vice mayor then.

MORE ACCURATE TAXATION

The P20-million upgrade will potentially increase Manila's income, said Cesar Chavez, Moreno's chief of staff.

"We don't have an updated, comprehensive land-use plan," he told reporters, noting that the capital's last land-use plan was crafted between 2001 and 2002.

"Ibig sabihin ang pagbubuwis mo sa isang area residential, samantalang commercial na siya so malaki ang kita namin doon dapat," he said. "Marami kang perang nawawala sa gobyerno."

Moreno said having an updated city blueprint has been one of Manila's "biggest failures."

The lack of a solid, data-based plan has hampered the capital's growth and left previous administrations spending money on "directionless" projects, he said.

"We have been spending billions already. We have some facilities, edifice . . . [But] we have nothing because it was done in a shotgun approach," he said.

"Para kaming barko na walang timon. May makina, may tripulante, may kakayanan in terms of capacity pero paikot-ikot lang sa dagat. 
So walang pupuntahang direksyon," he said.

"I would rather spend P20 million just to have a direction," he said.
 
"We pay the price today so the future of our generation will have this kind of new Manila, bagong Maynila."