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FINISH FLOOD PROJECTS BEFORE JUNE – CASTELO

With the funds made available for the $500 million (P25 billion) Metro Manila Flood Control Management Project (MMFCMP), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) should give it priority and have the project completed before the rainy season starts in June, Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo said.

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the World Bank (WB) have approved before the end of last year the bulk of financing for MMFCMP paving the way for the start of the project this month.

“I trust that Public Works Secretary Mark Villar share the same sense of urgency in completing the project in the first half of the year which is relatively free of rainfall,” Castelo said.

Representative Winston “Winnie” Castelo (2nd District, QC)

Castelo, chairman of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, said the main beneficiary of the project are Metro Manila residents who have to contend with the flooding scourge once the rainy season sets in breeding a host of problems such as diseases and the worsening of the vehicular traffic congestion.

He said the project will ease the plight of city residents who have to contend daily with the traffic problems which are made worse everytime it rains.

Castelo also urged the public to observe proper waste disposal since the main cause of clogging of drainages are plastic and other non-biodegradable materials being indiscriminatey thrown on the streets.

The costly anti-flood projects will all go to waste if the public won’t help in terms of discipline in disposing of their garbages

“The costly anti-flood projects will all go to waste if the public won’t help in terms of discipline in disposing of their garbages,” Castelo said.

Of the total project cost, $207.603 million will come from the World Bank while the AIIB will provide another $207.603 million. The government, for its part, will provide the remaining $84.794 million as counterpart financing.

The DOF has signed the loan agreements with both WB and AIIB last Dec. 19.

Castelo said the project will have immediate benefit to Metro Manila since it involves the rehabilitation of 36 pumping stations in Metro Manila and the construction of 20 new ones in Manila, Pasay, Pasig, Mandaluyong, San Juan, Caloocan, Valenzuela and Quezon City which already got the approval of the Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) in September last year.

Castelo said most of the pumping stations are badly in need of rehabilitation or repair since these were built in the 1970s.

The master plan proposed a set of measures to effectively manage major flood events, which include reducing flooding from river systems that run through the metropolis, by building a dam in the upper Marikina River catchment area in order to reduce peak river flows entering Metro Manila during typhoons and other extreme rainfall events.

Also included are the elimination of long-term flooding in the flood plain of Laguna de Bay, to protect the population living along the shore against high water levels in the lake; improvement of urban drainage, including modernization of Metro Manila’s pumping stations; and improvement of flood forecasting, early warning systems, and community-based flood risk management.

Floods particularly during the past typhoon season which usually lasts between June to October but has become unpredictable due to climate change is a yearly problem that causes traffic congestion and effects the lives, infrastracture and livelihood of people, particularly the poor, Castelo said.

The WB also said floods disrupt business and commercial activities, causing unnecessary economic costs.

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