MANILA – Debris from severe floods brought by Typhoon Ulysses was equivalent to one and a half years worth of Marikina City’s garbage, its mayor said Tuesday.
Marikina Mayor Marcelino Teodoro, in an interview with ANC’s “Matters of Fact,” said they had cleared nearly half of the debris and hoped to finish it by the end of November.
“The debris that we are collecting is equivalent to that of one and a half years of garbage we collected in the city. That's 980,000 cubic meters of debris,” he said.
“After 11 days, we have accomplished 45 percent of the clearing operations, but still marami pa rin (there are too many). We are still clearing it.”
Typhoon Ulysses, which struck the Philippines on Nov. 11, brought massive flooding in parts of Luzon, inundating scores of villages and farms. Marikina City evacuated some 10,500 families to safety during the typhoon as floodwaters rose to the rooftops. To date, only 1,050 families are staying in evacuation centers.
“We are able to clear the major roads but we are clearing now the secondary and interior alleys in the communities. That's one reason why [some] people can’t access to their houses at this point in time. But I must admit there are some that can't go home because they don't have a house to go home or return to,” Teodoro said.
The mayor again reiterated his call for the rehabilitation of the Marikina Watershed, which can reduce the risk of floods in downstream cities like Marikina.
Under Proclamation 296 issued in 2001, the Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape in Rizal was declared a protected area, but land grabbing, illegal logging, and quarrying activities haven’t halted despite its status.
Battered by frequent storms and other hazards, Teodoro also called for a national land use plan “that would provide proper zoning and regulate conversion of agricultural and reserve forest into residential subdivision.”
From the effects of the recent flooding, he said it would take 5 to 10 years for the city to recover.