Although we are in typhoon season, the recent cases of flooding in downtown Manila, which engulfed areas not known to go under thigh-high water, caught by surprise so many people.
Commuters and motorists know by heart areas in Metro Manila that catch water with continuous rainfall. They know to avoid perennial flood-prone areas, such as the length of España and the environs of the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, stretches of Rizal Avenue in Manila and Caloocan City, G. Araneta Avenue and Roxas District in Quezon City, entire areas of Marikina City, and parts of Buendia Avenue and Pasong Tamo in Makati City. But for Roxas Boulevard and Taft Avenue in Manila to sink from flood waters? That was simply unthinkable.
Photographs by Analy labor, Bob Dungo Jr. and Al Padilla for the Daily Tribune @tribunephl_ana @tribunephl_bob @tribunephl_al
While metro officials have pointed the blame on some government agencies, this still raises the question whether local officials are really prepared for floods. We always hear about how local governments have on standby rescue equipment to provide assistance should the public need it, how they have ready stock of provisions to provide those that might need to seek shelter at evacuation centers. However, we rarely hear them discuss a flood control program that is expected to address the perennial flooding problem.
While dredging, desilting and declogging operations of waterways, covering esteros to rivers, are conducted during the summer months, unless there is a unified flood control program that both public and private sectors and the general public will commit to adopting, Metro Manila will never be spared from floods during the rainy season. Such a program should be a priority for all local governments because flooding is a perennial problem.
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