Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr eyes ‘large’ water impounding areas to avoid flooding in NCR

2023 June 13

Flood control project in Aurora province 

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MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Tuesday bared his administration’s plan to build “large” water impounding facilities in areas outside of Metro Manila in an effort to control flooding in the country’s metropolis.

Marcos made the pronouncement in a video message after his sectoral meeting with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) at Malacañan Palace in Manila to discuss the flood control programs.

Marcos stressed the importance of pursuing more water impounding projects in the country, saying the proposal will not just focus on flood mitigation.

He said the impounded water could also be used for agricultural purposes.

“Huwag natin naman sana tinatapon ‘yung tubig dahil kailangan na natin iyang tubig na iyan. So, gumagawa rin kami ng paraan para maipon ang tubig. Naghahanap ngayon kami ng mga lugar sa labas ng Maynila kung saan puwedeng maglagay ng mga malaking large na impounding areas (Let us not waste the water because we will need that. That’s why we are also looking for a way to impound the water. We are now looking for areas outside Metro Manila where we can build large impounding areas),” Marcos said.

“Para doon natin kokontrolin, hindi na papasok dito sa Maynila. At mayroon pa tayong naipon na tubig para sa agrikultura, para sa iba’t ibang gamit (We will control the flow of water and stop that from submerging Metro Manila. We would also be able to collect the water and use that for other purposes such as agricultural purposes),” he added.


‘Comprehensive’ plan

During the sectoral meeting, Marcos also directed the Water Resources Management Office (WRMO) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to come up with a “comprehensive” plan to protect coastal communities and Metro Manila from flooding, Communications Secretary Cheloy Garafil said in a statement.

This, as Marcos noted that the DPWH’s flood control projects in Metro Manila and its surrounding areas have an estimated cost of PHP351 billion, Garafil said.

“Marcos underscored the need for a comprehensive plan to control where the floodwaters should go and what should be done,” she said.

Garafil noted that the briefing also focused on other ongoing flood control projects in the provinces of Pampanga, Cavite and Leyte, as well as in Cagayan de Oro City.

She said there was also a discussion on the construction of access roads leading to irrigation areas identified by the National Irrigation Authority under the Katubigan Program implemented jointly with the DPWH.

“The highlights included the rainwater collection system program under Republic Act No. 6716, with a total cost of PHP5.86 billion for the construction and installation of 6,002 rainwater collection system in various parts of the country,” Garafil said.

“Among the major flood control projects that are on the pipeline include the flood protection infrastructures in the Abra River Basin, Ranao River Basin and Tagum-Libuganon River Basin, the Central Luzon-Pampanga River Floodway Flood Control Project, among others,” she added.

Aside from the flood control initiatives, Marcos said the government is also monitoring the climate crisis because of its devastating effects to various sectors.

The briefing for the flood control projects was attended by DPWH Secretary Manuel Bonoan, DENR Secretary Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga and Garafil.

Other Cabinet officials present were secretaries Lucas Bersamin (Executive), Arsenio Balisacan (Socioeconomic Planning), Benjamin Diokno (Finance), Amenah Pangandaman (Budget), Benjamin Abalos Jr. (Local Government), Renato Solidum Jr. (Science and Technology), and Gilbert Teodoro Jr. (Defense).

Also in attendance were Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Juan Ponce Enrile, Special Assistant to the President Secretary Antonio Ernesto Lagdameo Jr. and acting Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairperson Romando Artes.

Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos (PNA)