Solon bats for ways to fight floods

Government should integrate safe and sound rainwater collectors into flood control projects, House Deputy Majority Leader Roman Romulo said Sunday.

“We have to harvest and conserve for eventual recycling some of the large amounts of water dumped during the rainy season. This will not only help abate flooding, but also provide communities extra water reserves during harsh dry spells,” Romulo said.

“We would like to see highly innovative engineering projects that will basically merge flood control and rainwater collection infrastructures, or at least make them complementary, where feasible,” said Romulo, who represents in Congress the lone district of Pasig City.

Pasig was among the areas devastated by widespread flash floods that occurred in Metro Manila and many parts of Luzon at the height of typhoon Ondoy.

Romulo said a total of P15.5 billion has been earmarked for flood control in the proposed General Appropriations Act of 2011. He said the amount is P6.7 billion or 76 percent greater than this year’s P8.8 billion allocation.

The bulk of the new funding would go to the construction, rehabilitation, repair and maintenance of more than 1.1 million lineal meters of flood control facilities by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has another P434 million for flood control-related projects and activities.

This includes P50 million for the Pasig-San Juan-Marikina River Systems’ Urgent Disaster Flood Control Works, P58 million for Flood Control and Drainage Projects in Metro Manila, and P100 million for the Flood Mitigation Project at the Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue-South Superhighway junction in Makati City.

Government’s failure to implement the 21-year-old Rainwater Collector and Springs Development Law, or Republic Act 6716, has become the subject of a lawsuit.

The suit was filed in April by the Global Legal Action on Climate Change led by the 2009 Ramon Magsaysay awardee for public service, environmental lawyer Antonio Oposa Jr.

The Supreme Court has since ordered government to respond to the unprecedented petition for it to enforce the 1989 law that requires the installation of rainwater collectors in all barangays.

The petition is the first to invoke the “writ of kalikasan,” a new legal remedy to expedite the resolution of environmental issues.

Respondents to the suit are the Office of the President, DPWH, Department of the Interior and Local Government, and the Climate Change Commission, among other agencies.

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