Sen. Manny Pacquiao
By Junex Doronio
MANILA — LIKE A PRAGMATIC WARRIOR, Senator Manny Pacquiao has zeroed in on the dredging of rivers and water tributaries in low-lying and catch-basin areas as a “simple solution” to the perennial floodings in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Pampanga and Pangasinan.
“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,” Pacquiao said on Tuesday in a statement.
The world boxing champion and senator from General Santos City said this move appeared to be practical instead of “fighting mother nature,” is to dredge the rivers and tributaries by at least 10 meters deep.
“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 pointed out.
He noted that if the entire stretch of the Marikina River and the Pasig River and other secondary tributaries surrounding Metro Manila had an additional depth of at least 10 meters, the flooding that hit Marikina and some areas in Rizal province would not have occurred.
Pacquaio said that Pasig River, which is 25 kilometers long, and Marikina River, which is 78 kilometers long, could accommodate huge volumes of floodwater even during extended rainfall if both tributaries have an added depth of at least 10 meters.
He said the same could be done with the 505-kilometer Cagayan River, the 270-kilometer Pampanga River and the 233-kilometer Chico River.
The senator further proposed that Laguna Lake, which is 911.7 square kilometers, should also be dredged as part of the government’s flood control solution.
He added that aside from constructing flood control systems, the government, through the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and other concerned agencies, should launch a massive dredging program on all rivers and other water tributaries to contain floodwaters during heavy rainfall.
The chairman of the Senate public works committee also asked 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) to conduct a study on how to create rain catchment and water impounding facilities especially in the National Capital Region.
“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,” Pacquiao said.
The potential presidential contender 18 months from now stressed that nearly all countries in the Middle East, Singapore, Thailand, Brazil, China, New Zealand and Germany have been using water-impounding facilities to supplement their traditional sources of potable water. (AI/MTVN)