Residents say flooding in San Mateo worsening every year

Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 26 2022 01:23 PM | Updated as of Sep 26 2022 01:24 PM

MANILA -- The flood at the entire stretch of North Libis in Barangay Banaba, San Mateo, Rizal is getting worse every year.

This is the observation of the residents who have lived in the area since the 1960s, and have seen the effects of typhoon Ondoy, which swallowed three-storey houses in the area, and typhoon Ulysees, which flooded the the entirety of the road. 

The North Libis community could be accessed by going down a slope under the Batasan bridge.

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Fast moving water at the San Mateo Batasan Bridge seen at 5:30am on Monday, September 26. Residents living along the river were asked to evacuate but some chose to stay behind with their belongings.

The residents, anticipating worse typhoons, have strengthened their houses with concrete and hollowblocks. However, they were still not spared by super typhoon Karding. 

Floodwaters reached as high as 7 feet, drowning the first floor of the houses at North Libis. Some of the residents, now used to the flooding, have invested in boats for rescue.

Residents say flooding in San Mateo worsening every year 1
Residents say flooding in San Mateo worsening every year 2
Residents say flooding in San Mateo worsening every year 3
Residents say flooding in San Mateo worsening every year 4

Residents had to use a boat to go back to their houses at North Libis in Barangay Banaba, San Mateo, Rizal.

Residents had to use a boat to go back to their houses at North Libis in Barangay Banaba, San Mateo, Rizal.

Residents had to use a boat to go back to their houses at North Libis in Barangay Banaba, San Mateo, Rizal.

Residents had to use a boat to go back to their houses at North Libis in Barangay Banaba, San Mateo, Rizal.

Sari-sari store owner Leticia Onio, 62, said if only they had enough money to buy a house in a safer place, they would. Her store is damp with floodwater and mud.

“Plano namin lumipat eh, paano kami lilipat ng bahay eh may pambili ba kami? Sa subdivision?“ Onio said.

(We plan to move, but how will we? Do we have enough money to buy a house in a subdivision?)

Joseph Eclipse was born in North Libis and now lives with his family. He dreams that one day his four children would be able to leave North Libis so that they will not experience the ordeal when typhoons hit their area.

“Kasi syempre para rin sa mga bata. Mahirap rin kung dito sila lalaki. Kami kasi, sanay na. Nung wala kaming mga anak, dito na kasi kami, kaya sanay na. Pero yung mga bata kasi habang lumalaki, syempre mas mahirap kasi dito pa sila mamulat parehas ng kinamulatan namin.” Eclipse said.

(Of course, it's for the kids. It will be hard if they grow up here. As for us, we're used to it. When we were still childless, we were okay here, because we were used to it. But it will be hard for my kids if they will grow up the way I did.)

Eclipse tried to save their appliances, which they were still paying for on an installment basis, even though it looked like the appliances would no longer work. 

They prioritized their children and their school supplies last night when the flood started rising. They temporarily stayed just by the entrance of the Batasan bridge.

Some of the residents in the area said they’d rather stay behind or near their houses in fear of getting looted.

Residents say flooding in San Mateo worsening every year 5
Residents say flooding in San Mateo worsening every year 6
Residents say flooding in San Mateo worsening every year 7
Residents say flooding in San Mateo worsening every year 8

Residents living near San Mateo-Batasan Bridge refused to leave their houses last night in fear that they will be looted, despite the floods.

Residents living near San Mateo-Batasan Bridge refused to leave their houses last night in fear that they will be looted, despite the floods.

Residents living near San Mateo-Batasan Bridge refused to leave their houses last night in fear that they will be looted, despite the floods.

Residents living near San Mateo-Batasan Bridge refused to leave their houses last night in fear that they will be looted, despite the floods.

Onio and Eclipse were just two of the around hundred individuals living at North Libis. They said they have been used to their situation but wishes the government would find a safer place for them.