Public Works Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. has proposed a review of the zoning ordinance to stop informal settlers from clogging and rendering ineffective flood-mitigation projects in National Capital Region (NCR) and other flood prone areas.
Meanwhile, Patrick Gatan, DPWH Major Flood Control and Drainage project director, supported Ebdanes' call for a review of the factors that cause floodings even as he revealed that per their initial evaluation, the water rainfall during Ondoy was higher than that of Hurricane Katrina which ravaged New Orleans in 2005.
"We must have a serious review of the zoning ordinance. We have to prevent informal settlers from clogging and defeating the purpose of constructing multi-billion dams, mega-dikes, spillways and floodways," Ebdane said.
A recent report from the Database of Water-Related Projects in the country conducted by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) said that "flooding is becoming a more serious problem in Metro Manila and other flood-prone areas because of the rapid urban expansion, inadequate river channel capacities, and insufficient equipment for maintenance for existing drainage facilities, which have been continuously clogged by squatting and garbage dumping".
Ebdane also said with the floods now becoming inevitable because of the climate change and clogging of floodways, spillways and dams by informal settlers, Filipino should already consider changing lifestyle by adapting the ways of those who learned to live with floods.
"People in low-lying areas can follow the residents of Candaba. Laging binabaha pero hindi nagrereklamo dahil 'yung first floor nila protected ng walls at ang mga gamit nila piled up sa second floor," Ebdane explained.
Gatan said that their flood monitoring satellite shows that typhoon Ondoy brought 454 mm amount of rainfall in existing road along Cainta River, Rizal Province, which is way above the 414.78 mm of Hurricane Katrina that inundated almost entire of New Orleans.
"Our system of mega-dikes, dams and other flood mitigation projects in Metro Manila just couldn't hold the high volume of water that Ondoy brought to us. Although we have made plans for more flood mitigation projects ahead of time, funding problems have stalled their immediate implementation," Gatan said.
The P4.2 billion Pasig-Marikina River Improvement Project, which could have lessened the overflow of Pasig River, was scheduled to start construction in 2007 but funding problem caused the construction to be pushed back to 2009. The project is scheduled to be finished in 2013.