Manila News: Flood Control Help

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said on Monday that the agency will soon establish “Flood Control Bayanihan Zones” in flood-prone areas in the metropolis.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said the agency initiated the Flood Control Bayanihan Zone as a concrete public-private partnership to ease the adverse effects of flooding in Metro Manila, particularly during the rainy season.

“Within the next few weeks, we will launch these bayanihan zones that will serve as our active partner in all our flood control activities. With the close cooperation of the community, we believe that our efforts to find solutions to our flooding problem will come a long way,” Tolentino said.

Each Bayanihan Zone will be composed of key representatives from the different stakeholders in the community such as civic and business organizations, religious groups, non-government organizations and people’s organizations, among others.

Tolentino said that the development of the Bayanihan Zones was aimed at establishing a broad-based commitment and involvement by the community in a particular flood-prone area.

With bayanihan zones in place, the problem on coordination and response time during calamities and any other emergencies would be addressed effectively, Tolentino said.

Each bayanihan zone will be responsible for organizing its own community for preparedness prior to and during flooding incidents, and will maintain close contact with the MMDA, the local government units, and other government agencies.

Members of the bayanihan zone, who serve as frontline unit, are also expected to develop flood protocol and other guidelines for the residents of the community such as alert mechanisms, flood-mitigation measures, and evacuation measures.

“Each bayanihan zone will also be responsible in conducting information campaign and advocacy outreach program to eradicate causes of flooding in their jurisdiction,” Tolentino said.

The Flood Control Bayanihan Zone is the latest among the measures introduced by the MMDA to alleviate flooding in the metropolis, the most significant of which is the “Estero Declaration,” which the agency signed with Metro Manila mayors.

The declaration affirmed the commitment of the mayors to work hand-in-hand with the MMDA on the issue of flooding.

Under the Estero Declaration, the mayors pledge to actively implement their respective anti-littering ordinances, as well as to clean and dredge the esteros, creeks, and other waterways located within their jurisdiction.

With the covenant, the local chief executives will move to fully support the MMDA’s campaign to dismantle and remove all structures, constructions, and other encroachments along waterways as provided for under Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992 (UDHA Law).

Tolentino said the mayors’ “Estero Declaration” was the start of a stronger and more meaningful partnership between the MMDA and the local chief executives in the campaign to control environmental pollution and prevent the recurrence of flooding in the metropolis.

“This is a big event in a way that we have finally gotten the full support of the mayors in coming up with measures to combat floods. Flooding is a very serious problem that should be acted upon by all concerned sectors, not just the MMDA,” Tolentino said.

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