DPWH: No project under Metro Manila flood management master plan has been completed yet

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 14) — None of the projects under the Department of Public Works and Highways' (DPWH) flood management master plan for Metro Manila and nearby provinces has been completed since 2012, the agency said Tuesday.

Lydia Aguilar, DPWH flood control engineer, on Tuesday said only 14 percent of the projects under the ?352-billion initiative have been funded since it was approved.

"Sa ngayon po, mula 2012 after the approval ng master plan, nakaka-14 percent pa lang kami ng naa-allocate na pondo. Hindi pa yun nai-implement lahat," Aguilar said during a public hearing on the status of the master plan.

[Translation: Since the approval of the master plan in 2012, only 14 percent  has been allocated. All projects are not yet implemented.]

"'Yun po yung dahilan ba't pa rin may pagbaha, kasi di pa natin nabubuo yung projects," she added.

[Translation: That's the reason why there are still floodings, we haven't completed the projects yet.]

Aguilar, however, noted that the agency still has a lot of time to complete the projects as the master plan runs until 2035.

The master plan includes 11 large-scale infrastructure projects such as the construction of dams, retarding basins, road dikes, and rehabilitation of pumping stations across the metro and in nearby provinces such as Rizal, Laguna, and parts of Bulacan.

Meanwhile, Patrick Gatan,  DPWH Unified Project Management Office and Flood Control Management Cluster director, said repairing all drainage systems in the metropolis will require major funding.

"Kasama ho sa design, meron ho kaming mga analysis kaya lang ho kino-consider rin namin yung economic system dito, baka lumaki at di na ho mapondohan," he said.

[Translation: We included in the design some analysis, but as we consider our economic system, it may not be funded.]

Doing so will also worsen traffic, Gatan added.

Victor Pablo Trinidad, Metro Manila Development Authority director, said trash that clog drainage systems aggravate floods in the metropolis.

"Ang isa sa mga nakikita naming problema, 'yung mga plastic na nagbabara sa mga laterals natin," Trinidad said.

[Translation: One of the problems that we see are the plastic that clog our laterals.]

The Senate Committee on Public Works sees the slow implementation of flood control projects as the reason for widespread flooding in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.

"Mabagal ang implementation sa DPWH. Kumbaga, ang dahilan maraming problema, maraming ano. Pwede naman nating masolusyonan yan," Senator Manny Pacquiao, the Committee's chair, said.

[Translation: The implementation of projects are slow in the DPWH. They always have a problem. But we can solve that.]

Citing a report by the Commission on Audit,  Pacquiao said the DPWH has failed to complete projects worth ?62.59 billion on time. Included in these projects are 622 measures designed to address flooding around the country, he said.

The senator called on the DPWH to work closely with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and local government units (LGU) on speeding up the construction of flood control projects.

"Hindi ito biro kasi bawat baha, bawat baguo may namamatay na tao. Ang solution siguro, coordination o cooperation ng LGU at right implementation of projects. Kailangan seryoso, hindi yung pa-good for three months lang," he said.

[It should be taken seriously because someone dies every time it floods. The solution maybe is coordination or cooperation among LGU's and right implementation of projects. We need to be serious and should not go for projects that are good for only three months.]

Pacquiao will invite Metro Manila mayors to the next hearing to hear their suggestions on the capital's flood woes.

CNN Philippines' Robert Vergara contributed to this report.