By: Elena Grace Flores
Bongbong Marcos stresses that the cancellation of the 4th Spillway project in Metro Manila contributes heavily to the worsening flood control problems. This is part of the urban planning strategy of his late father, former President Ferdinand Marcos. The VP in waiting now endorses the same architect, Jun Palafox’s flood control measures who happens to be a part of the previous Marcos project that was cancelled due to the 1986 quo d’etat.
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The Archipelago Status of the Philippines
Marcos, the Vice Presidential protestee said that it is a fact that the country is surrounded by water because of its archipelago status. The 7,100 islands of the Philippines is located in nearby vast oceans. It would be difficult to move away from waters. Nonetheless, he points out that efficient urban planning and proper flood control measures just like what his father did can ease the problems. He also cites two reasons that contributes to massive floods in Metro Manila.
Climate Change is Real
Marcos also debunks the idea that climate change is not real. In fact most farmers can’t figure out easily anymore when the appropriate planting season would be. He cites deforestation and over population as the two major contributors for this. The polished logs ceased in Laguna is one proof. Whereas, it is quite obvious that would would relocate to the big city to be near their work or livelihood. Therefore, his mother’s QC project helps solve these kinds of dilemma.
Former President Ferdinand Marcos’ Urban Planning Strategy
The MMETROPLAN is an inter-agency project of the Government of the Philippines with Freeman Fox and Associates of London and Hong Kong. Including other recommendations for transport land use and urban development, the plan suggested the construction of flood control mechanisms to effectively contain and channel floodwaters, citing initiatives by other studies and proponents. In this plan, the Laguna Lake will act as the initial floodwater container and the Manila Bay a secondary container. When the Pasig and Marikina rivers reach critical levels, its excess water is diverted to Laguna Lake through the Manggahan floodway while the Paranaque spillway will flush out excess water from Laguna Lake towards Manila Bay to protect the 29 Laguna lakeshore towns.
Marcos’ Spillway 4 to Continue
The Paranaque Spillway to be simultaneously constructed, but only the Floodway was built. The Spillway project would have cost the government P18 billion (roughly $1 billion). Every time flood waters are diverted into the Laguna Lake via the Manggahan floodway, Laguna Lake becomes a toilet without a flush, which was what exactly happened during the onslaught of typhoon Ondoy, where 4,600 cubic meters per second of flood waters came down from the mountains and flooded more than 80,000 hectares of low-lying urban land in Metro Manila and around Laguna Lake. Singapore, in comparison, has only 71,000 hectares of land.
Palafox’s Flood Control Measures
Among the long-term targets suggested by Arch. Palafox that are related to water management infrastructure included:
1. Building the Spillway from Laguna Lake to Manila Bay.
2. Establish 100-year flood lines and rising water levels, then build higher than them
3. Control development in areas liable to flooding
4. Encourage new developments and retrofit elevated walkways, sky bridges that connect buildings above flood waters
5. Focus of solid waste management
6. Reforestation of the catch basins
7. Update Daniel Burnham’s 1905 Plan, 1976-77 MMETROPLAN, and the 2003 Manila Megalopolis Concept Plan 2020
8. Establish an Urban Metropolitan Management Review (too many overlapping functions among local, metropolitan, regional and national agencies)
9. Construct road dikes around Laguna Lake and relocate settlers to higher areas
10. Make hazard mapping (for earthquakes, floods, fire, and other hazards) a priority
11. Enforce 10-20 meter easements along rivers and lakes, and 3.5 meter easements along creeks and esteros.
There are five factors needed for the country wants to succeed : visionary leadership, political will, good planning, good design, and good governance.