Do we have to wait for another Ondoy? or another Habagat tragedy? The unprecedented volume of rainfall yesterday is something we don’t want to happen again. Today, DPWH Chief Sison says the permanent solution to the country’s flooding problems will be finished by 2016 and that specific plans are in place by next week.
Citizens are interested in long term solutions. Sure, the Filipino’s spirit is water proof but we can’t accept the fate of flood tragedies year after year. Urban planning should be taken seriously now. A unified flood control program needs to be in place that integrates local government units.
Perhaps we should reconsider the 2010 report of Felino Falafox Jr., a leading urban planner and architect ? According to Arch Palafox, while ” there is nothing that we could do to control the destructive power of these natural phenomena, there are steps that we could take to limit the amount of damage”.
In this 2010 Inquirer article, Palafox says “that as early as 1977, there was already a warning when he submitted a report to then Ministry of Public Works and Highways that the prevailing relaxed control of urban development in Metro Manila would have adverse consequences.”
Here are some of his suggestions from 2010.
1. To prevent Ondoy flooding from ever happening again, Palafox reiterates what his report had suggested: Build a spillway in Parañaque City to drain excess water from Laguna de Bay to Manila Bay. Also, Pasig and Marikina Rivers must be desilted in order to handle huge volume of rainwater run-off.
2. Palafox recommends designing houses that employ stilts that go above the flood lines, just like the Badjaos.
3. To make Metro Manila as well as other urban areas less vulnerable to disasters, it is necessary not only to make buildings safer, earthquake-resistant, flood-proof and fireproof, we also need to improve roads, create open spaces and parks that could prevent the spread of fire while at the same time provide a safe haven for evacuating residents should an earthquake happen,? he says.
4. Palafox says there is a need to undertake land readjustment projects for urban renewal in parallel with projects for the promotion of fire prevention, like establishing firebreaks or cleared areas of land intended to check the spread of fire.
Those are just some of Arch. Palafox suggestion. Here is his full report:
Palafox Associates: Urban Planning, Architecture, and Engineering to Address Hazards