MANILA - The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) on Wednesday said it has been working on at least 3 major flood control projects that are expected to be competed in the coming years with a price tag of P138 billion.
Public works officials said this in a Senate hearing held in the wake of historic flooding in several parts of Luzon due to the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses.
The final phase of the Pasig-Marikina flood walls is expected to be completed in the next 4 years, while feasibility studies are already being conducted for the construction of the Marikina Dam and the Parañaque spillway, DPWH Unified Project Management Office (UPMO) flood control engineer Jerry Fano said in a Senate hearing.
"Ang kinagandahan po dito... it (flood walls) would complement with the Marikina Dam project," he said.
(What is good about this is that it would compleent with the Marikina Dam projects.)
With the Parañaque spillway, 14.5-meter floods in "areas west of the Laguna de Bay" may be reduced to P12.5 meters, he said.
The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) is reviewing the DPWH proposal for the Marikina Dam, while the feasibility study for the Parañaque spillway is expected to be completed by February 2021, he said.
The government is expected to spend a total of P138 billion for all three projects.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said construction of flood control projects in the capital region must be coupled with political will, noting that informal settlers are occupying portions of waterways in Metro Manila.
"There must be strong political will. We need to relocate the informal settlers para magkaroon ng honest to goodness flood dikes," he said.
Fruit trees should also be planted along riverbanks, especially in rural areas, to discourage locals from uprooting the trees, which serve as natural protection from flooding, Zubiri said.
"Kung fruit trees 'yan, mapapakinabangan ng communities diyan, hindi nila puputulin 'yan," he said.
(If they plant fruit trees, it will be useful for communities, they won't cut them down.)
The DPWH has been trying to improve waterways in the Marikina Valley, a flood-prone area in the eastern portion of the capital city.
Earlier this month, most parts of Marikina City were flooded after Typhoon Ulysses dumped heavy rains in different parts of Luzon.
Marikina Mayor Marcelino Teodoro earlier pushed for the rehabilitation of the Marikina Watershed to prevent flooding in his city and other low-lying areas in Metro Manila.
Under Proclamation No. 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 have continued despite the order.
"The utilization of funds should be diverted for mitigation and preparedness, not simply for relief and rehabilitation," Teodoro said in an interview on ANC in mid-November.
"We should address this issue now. Not rhetorically or mere pronouncement but there should be a statutory framework that would comply everybody to provide programs and activities to address the effects of climate change," he said.