It appears these days that flooding, landslides and evacuation resulting from long, heavy rains spawned by a tropical disturbance, a tropical depression, a tropical storm or a typhoon, especially the slow moving ones, are becoming common/normal sights all over the country, depending on its path.
The latest we have seen from tropical storm Mario (international name Fung-Wong) affecting the Visayas first and, a day later, the Luzon areas make us wonder if we could see the day again when people won’t be displaced from their homes in utter difficulties and landslides and flooding would be adversities of the past.
Perhaps our only consolation is that this particular kind of natural adversity is not only isolated in third world countries but can also be witnessed, and even more devastatingly, in developed countries.
While progress, greed and the unscrupulousness of man in destroying the environment may be cited as universal reasons for bringing about these types of miseries in communities, in our case much has to be blamed at the lackadaisical attitude of our government officials, both national and local, in pursuing projects and stringently implementing the laws that could help avert or, by some degree, mitigate the detrimental effects of long, heavy downpours.
Time and again new administration takes over and/or gets reelected and its leaders/politicians talk about making comprehensive study on drainage system or flood control every time their areas suffer from extensive flooding.
They have been talking about it when the flood waters were still knee-deep, and now that flood waters have reached neck-deep and over, they are still talking about it.
Almost always they are able to identify the causes, like shallow creeks, streams and riverbeds due to excessive siltation. Upland and in rural areas, it comes from soil degradation due to intensive or inadequate agricultural practices. In urban areas the erosion source is typically construction activities, since this involves clearing the original land-covering vegetation and exposing the soil which is easily washed out during rainstorms.
In other place, not only are these waterways shallow and being cultivated, but illegal settlers are occupying them and with their garbage all over the place, it becomes and obstruction and water overflows.
There never seems to be a permanent existence of side road drainage as government keeps working on it, either fixing a whole stretch or replacing them for bigger ones, and the work goes very slow that when it rains part of the diggings start cascading down the drain.
What makes our kind of flooding different from those in the developed world is that at the height of the long and heavy downpour one sees garbage floating all over the place and when the floods subsides one sees the garbage hanging on fences or wherever it has taken them downstream.
Thus, we know what has to be done, at least, but the urgency seems to appear only when the government officials experiences flooding in their areas and quickly disappears when the sun shines again.
It is not as if there are no funds available for the drainage system or flood control projects. Even the World Bank, has offered to finance project for flood control. (https://quierosaber.wordpress.com/2011/01/20/world-bank-to-finance-project-for-flood-control/)
In fact money coming from the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) was being used for flood control projects, this, according to Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson.
So, does this mean now that because the Supreme Court has declared the DAP unconstitutional, we no longer can proceed speedily with flood control projects, specifically in Manila?
Definitely there is money, but when the money goes to ghost projects only to end up in somebody else pocket, that is when the country and its people suffer the most.
It should not be the poor and helpless that we should see wading in the filthy flood waters during long and heavy rains, but rather it should be the politicians that misused their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), which otherwise could have augmented the funds for flood control projects, including the relocation of illegal settlers occupying the riverbanks.
(For a related article please open this link: https://quierosaber.wordpress.com/tag/flood-control/)