Press Release
July 6, 2011

Legarda Urges the Upgrading of Drainage Systems

The lack of drainage system upgrades and other long-term remedies to waterway congestion exacerbates destructive floods in metropolitan areas, according to Senator Loren Legarda. Legarda today calls for long-term investments to prevent floods in congested urban zones, primarily in Metro Manila, where heavy rainfall immediately flooded main thoroughfares yesterday.

Legarda also lamented that in Davao City, the recent flash floods have claimed the lives of at least 30.

"Upgrading drainage systems entails increasing the capacity of drainage systems to hold and flush out more water, in response to increasing rain landfall and rising sea levels," Legarda explained. The present capacity of the Metro Manila drainage and flood control systems is said to be less than 50%.

"Streets undergo major clean-ups after a flood, but the underground pipes clogged with garbage and other debris from the flood are typically neglected. We must also ensure that we direct resources in cleaning up creeks and waterways that are central to our flood prevention strategy," the Senator added.

Legarda referred to a recent warning from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) to expect 12 to 15 more typhoons until the end of the year.

"While the different levels of government are better equipped to prepare for these typhoons with improved early warning systems and evacuation protocols, we should finally turn the public eye to long-term solutions in the likes of drainage system upgrades and flood control plans as the next steps in climate change adaptation, especially since typhoons are expected to hit in higher intensity," Legarda said.

Speaking about the flood prevention outlays, the Senator, who serves as the Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, pointed out that these are small amounts to shell out seeing that they save the government and people tons of money when natural hazards strike. "Climate change adaptation tools are investments, not costs. I note DPWH's efforts to review an effective flood control infrastructure that would significantly diminish floods in parts of Metro Manila and neighboring provinces that destroy public infrastructures, housing, and livelihoods, costing us millions of pesos each time, let alone causing tragic loss of human life."

"The benefits from flood control projects tremendously exceed the costs in building them. The strategies for climate change adaptation exist, and I urge Local Government Units and agencies under the executive department to responsibly allot funds for long-term measures that would ultimately save pesos as well as precious lives," Legarda concluded.

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