De Lima to MMDA: Give equal attention to flooding in Metro Manila

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Senator Leila M. de Lima has asked the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to give equal attention to and seriously address the widespread flooding affecting thousands of Filipinos, especially commuters in the metropolis, during this wet season.

De Lima, who chairs the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, underscored the need for MMDA to address the concerns on heavy flooding by ensuring that flood-control projects are properly implemented.

Bukod sa pabigat na pabigat na problema sa trapiko, kailangan ding tutukan ng gobyerno ang problema ng pagbaha na hindi lang nakakaabala, kundi nagdudulot din ng peligro sa kalusugan ng ating mga kababayan, lalo na sa mga kabataan,” she said.

Kapansin-pansin ang problemang ito lalo na ngayong panahon ng tag-ulan. Matapos maghintay sa usad-pagong na biyahe dahil sa trapiko, susuungin pa ng ating mga estudyante o trabahador ang binabahang mga lugar patungo sa kanilang paaralan o trabaho,” she added.

De Lima made the statement after reading news reports about citizens recently trapped by floods in Metro Manila as well as the worsening conditions of different areas in the city that were easily submerged in floodwater even after regular monsoon rains and intermittent showers.

Aside from news reports, De Lima’s Senate staff also printed several photos showing the plight of Metro Manila commuters caught in the middle of the flood, which she found “heart-breaking”.

Wala man ako dun para harapang makita ang sitwasyon nila, nakakalungkot makita na ilan sa ating kababayan ay kailangang lumusong sa baha o di kaya ay gumawa pa ng panandaliang ‘tulay’ mula sa kahoy o kaha ng soft drinks para lamang maiwasan ang baha at huwag mabasa ang kanilang mga pantalon o sapatos,” she said.

According to MMDA’s own “Operational Highlights” appended in the recent Commission on Audit (COA)’s audit report on the agency, floods in the National Capital Region took longer to subside in 2018 than in 2017.

The MMDA reportedly admitted that it took more time for floods to subside because only 41.63 percent of waterways and drainage systems were declogged and desilted, and that no zero flood mitigation project was also completed prior to the onset of the rainy season in 2018.

COA noted that “evaluation of the flood control projects of MMDA revealed that of the 170 programmed flood control projects for 2018 with a total cost of P878.57 million, only 53 projects were fully implemented during the year.”

“We cannot allow our countrymen to continue suffering because of the government’s failure to maximize the funds allotted to improve the metropolis. Kailangan ng aksyon, lalo pa ngayong tag-ulan,” said De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion.

While De Lima admitted that problems concerning flooding is not something that can easily be solved because it has persisted for so long, she said it should not stop the government from “exerting all efforts to lessen, if not fully eradicate, the flooding in NCR and other parts of the country.” (30)

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