SENATOR Manny Pacquiao on Tuesday said the simple solution is to dredge all tributaries in flood-prone areas by at least 10 meters deep, instead of fighting mother nature particularly the destructive typhoons that cause massive flooding in low-lying and catch-basin areas in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Pampanga and Pangasinan.
Pacquaio said that aside from constructing flood control systems , the government, through the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and other pertinent government agencies should launch a massive dredging program on all rivers and other water tributaries to contain floodwaters during heavy rainfall caused by typhoons and the monsoon.
The eight-time world champ said that every year, lives and livelihood are lost because of massive floods such as the one caused by Typhoon Ulysses.
This cycle will continue to take place if the government will not take any action to divert and properly impound floodwaters coming from upland areas and dams and the rainwater.
He said that if the entire stretch of the Marikina river and the Pasig River and other secondary tributaries surrounding Metro Manila has an additional depth of at least 10 meters from their current state, the flooding that took place in Marikina and in some areas in Rizal would have not happened.
Pacquaio surmised that Pasig River which is 25 kilometers long and Marikina River which is 78 kilometers long would be sufficient to accommodate huge volumes of floodwater even during extended rainfall events similar to what happened during Typhoon Ondoy and now Typhoon Ulysses if both tributaries have an added depth of at least 10 meters.
The same can be done with the 505-kilometer Cagayan river, the 270-kilometer Pampanga river and the 233-kilometer Chico River which would suppress any flooding incidents in the Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon respectively. These areas are hardest hit by Typhoon Ulysses which caused massive loss of lives and properties.
Laguna Lake, which is 911.7 square kilometer should be also dredged to as part for of the government’s flood control solution.
“It’s a no brainer. Kapag malalim ang ating mga ilog at mga estero, mas maiiwasan ng posibilidad na umagos ang tubig-baha papunta sa ating mga kabahayan. Dapat diyan natin ibuhos ang ating flood control program at hindi kung saan-saan na mga proyekto na paulit-ulit lang. What we need is a long-term and sustain flood control program,” Pacquiao said.
Pacquiao said that by this time, the government already has enough data to determine areas that are flood-prone and the which waterways would need dredging.
To ensure compliance of the local government units in maintaining the depth of the tributaries in their areas, Congress can file a bill which would provide automatic allocation for the management of their waterways. The DILG can monitor the program and can exercise administrative oversight to ensure its implementation.
On top of the massive river-dredging project in flood-prone areas, Pacquiao also proposed that the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources(DENR) should conduct a study on how to create rain catchment and water impounding facilities especially in the National Capital Region (NCR) which can be processed by water concessionaires.
This way, the government will be able to reduce flooding as floodwaters are diverted into these impounding facilities while ensuring that the people will have an abundant and cheap supply of potable water and the farmers will have a year-round supply of water to irrigate their farms, Pacquaio said.
This system will also help protect planet earth by preserving the country’s groundwater which is a fast-diminishing global resource.
Pacquiao said that the technology itself is nothing new or complex because this is already practiced even during ancient times which can be traced as far back as the Neolithic age.
He added that nearly all countries in the Middle East, Singapore, Thailand, Brazil, China, New Zealand and even Germany have been using water impounding facilities for floodwaters and rainwater harvesting solutions to supplement their traditional sources of potable water.