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New mayors can help with flood project problems




E CARTOON AUG 7, 2019Traffic came to a virtual standstill in many parts of Metro Manila last Friday. The reason was flooding  that left  many streets impassable, although the rains that fell were  not particularly heavy.

Flooding has long been a problem in Manila, partly because the city lies between Manila Bay and the surrounding hills of Quezon City and other cities and towns  to  the  north, east, and south. Within Manila itself, there are many low-lying areas toward which flood waters naturally flow when it rains.

Over the years, many flood control projects have been constructed  all  over  the city.  Beneath the entire length of  Espana  is  a  tunnel through which water from the north flows to the Pasig, on to the bay. But the rains last Friday flooded Espana and forced traffic to a standstill. Some street drains may have been blocked by garbage that had accumulated during the dry months.

A report of the Commission on Audit (COA) provides one major reason  for the continued flooding in parts of the city.  The commission said the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA)  had approved 170  flood control projects for 2018  with a total budget of P878 million,  but only  53 – less than one-third — were actually completed.

The 117 that could not be completed were plagued by inadequate planning  and  inadequate coordination with the Department of Public W`orks and Highways  and with the various local government units concerned  Thus only 53 projects, with budgets totaling P273 million,  were completed. These are the ones now working to avert flooding in Manila but they evidently cannot cope with it.

The newly elected mayors of Manila and the other Metro cities are facing many problems, with two of them – garbage and traffic due to streets blocked by illegal parking – recently in the news. President Duterte himself has  taken  it  upon  himself  direct  local  governments  to  act  on these two specific problems.

The start of the rainy season has now exposed this additional problem of flooding, for which there is already  an  overall plan with actual appropriations.  The new mayors should see what they can do to  help the MMDA solve the problems that blocked the completion of 117 flood control projects in 2018.


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