Property Dev’t Blamed For Floods

MANILA, Philippines --- Fisherfolk have urged President Aquino and Environment Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje to prohibit the construction of malls and high-rise condominium buildings in flood-prone areas.

The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), Anakpawis party-list, Save Laguna Lake Movement and Koalisyon Kontra Kumbersyon ng Manila Bay (KKK-Manila Bay) said Aquino and Paje should have the political will to prevent such huge structures along major water waterways, river systems, coastal areas and low-lying communities to effectively mitigate the impact of typhoons and monsoon rains on communities.

They noted that a huge mall in Marikina was blamed by residents for blocking floodwaters when Typhoon Ondoy hit the city in September 2009.

The four groups said the mushroooming of shopping malls and high-rise buildings along Manila Bay, Pasig River, Laguna de Bay and other low-lying areas have caused frequent and destructive flooding in the National Capital Region (NCR) and nearby regions of Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog.

"These large structures along major water systems, river banks, lakes and coastal areas should be blamed for the Ondoy like situation over the last two weeks. These multi-billion projects of corporate real estate companies and infrastructure monopolies have impeded or caused major obstruction to the natural flow of water and resulted in massive and devastating floods," said Pamalakaya national chairperson and Anakpawis vice chairman Fernando Hicap.

"The coastal towns of Cavite were submerged in deep water because of the R-1 road extension project or Cavitex. Before Cavitex, flood was not an issue among the coastal people of the province. Since the road project came into existence and altered the natural flow of waters in Bacoor Bay, flooding has become a regular nightmare to tens of thousands of fisherfolk and residents along Manila and Bacoor Bays," Hicap said.

The Pamalakaya leader said the construction of malls and other high-end condominiums near or along Pasig and Marikina Rivers and in Manila Bay and Laguna Lake have led to floods in Metro Manila and the provinces of Cavite, Rizal, Laguna, Bulacan, Pampanga and Bataan.

"All it takes is common sense and experience based on science to understand the flood problem in NCR and the rest of Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog. We don't need Malacañang's flood czar to know the real score. All past administrations, including the incumbent presidency of Mr. Aquino, should be blamed for this regular catastrophe. It emanates in the policy of privatization and conversion of the state and the greed of past and present officials for juicy commissions," said Hicap.

Earlier, Pamalakaya and Anakpawis questioned the P352-billion flood control project proposed by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), describing the master plan as "plain and simple money-making."