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Business Mirror : BBM: Intensify urban planning, spillways

News & Interviews
29 December 2021

By Business Mirror

NOTING the recent flooding in a large swath of Visayas and Mindanao caused by typhoon ‘Odette,’ Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr. said it is high time for the government to intensify urban planning and the spillway system in the country.

The Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) standard bearer said the devastation brought by ‘Odette’ was comparable to the damage caused by typhoon ‘Ondoy’ in October 2009, when 710 people died while billions worth of properties were destroyed.

In an interview, he said it is painful that these tragic events had happened during the holidays even people are still in the midst of recovering from the Covid-19 crisis.

The former senator said it important to be serious and to prepare for this type of disasters, not only in preparation for evacuation centers but also to have long-term solutions to prevent widespread flooding.

One of his immediate solutions is to intensify urban planning, specifically revisiting government spillway projects.

Marcos recalled that in the 1970s, a strong typhoon devastated the Philippines which also caused widespread flooding, not only in Metro Manila but in almost all areas of the country.

Then President Ferdinand Marcos, Sr., immediately worked to build four spillway projects in Metro Manila, he recalled.

A spillway or overflow channel is a structure used to provide the controlled release of water from a dam or levee downstream, typically into the rivers.

Spillways have floodgates and fuse plugs to regulate water flow and reservoir level.

Such features enable a spillway to regulate downstream flow—by releasing water in a controlled manner.

His father also ordered the regular cleanup of esteros along with the building of spillways. He said the first spillway was completed in 1983, the second in 1984 and the third in 1985.

A planned project in 1986 was canceled.

One aspect of urban planning at that time was  relocation to proper housing such as BLISS (Bagong Lipunan Improvement of Sites and Services) and National Housing Authority (NHA) from the Ministry of Human Settlement.

The current rows of government offices in Quezon Memorial Circle and Batasan areas were specifically designed to move them away from capital Manila which was already heavily congested at the time.

Earlier, noted architect Jun Palafox confirmed in a TV interview that there was severe flooding during Ondoy because the construction of the Parañaque spillway was not continued.

“Singapore is only 71,000 hectares; during Ondoy 4,100 cubic meters per second of water fell from the mountains, while the capacity of Pasig River is only 600 cubic meters lang.  So, almost 4,000 cubic meters of flooding, it flooded the 80,000 hectares,” explained Palafox.

For Marcos, the previous plans on urban planning and spillways should not be ignored because every year storms caused by climate change are getting stronger.