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MMDA given one week to explain pumping station fuel fiasco

August 16, 2012 7:33pm

Tags: MMDA
Pasig street remains flooded while others have subsided
Pasig street remains flooded while others have subsided. School children ride elevated sidecars and improvised rafts on their way to school at the flooded E. Santos Street in Brgy. Palatiw, Pasig City on Wednesday. The area remains flooded even as floods in neighboring communities have subsided. Leo Alvarado
The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will have until Wednesday next week to explain why some pumping stations ran out of fuel while heavy rains caused flooding in the National Capital Region.

"We will expect that report...[on] who is responsible and the assurance that it will not happen again, not only in Taguig but in all areas of responsibility [of] the MMDA," Senate climate change committee chairman Loren Legarda said during Thursday's hearing on the state of disaster and climate risks in the country.

Legarda also said that she expects the MMDA to propose a solution to the problem in its explanation.

She issued the statement after Senator Alan Peter Cayetano in a privilege speech on Wednesday accused the MMDA of aggravating an already bad situation by mismanaging pumping stations all over Metro Manila, especially in Taguig.

Cayetano said that according to reports reaching him, it took weeks for the MMDA to approve purchase orders for fuel that was requested as early as July.

He also said lower-ranking executives like flood control and sewerage management office head Baltazar Melgar took the blame for what happened even though Melgar actually warned his superiors about the problem.

But on Thursday, MMDA chair Francis Tolentino said that he had approved the purchase order on July 18.  

He likewise said he was unaware that Melgar and MMDA pumping stations and floodgates division engineer Michael Doce in a letter dated August 2 told assistant general manager Edenison Fainsan that the ordered fuel had not yet been delivered to the stations by the suppliers.

Melgar, Doce, and three other engineers were relieved of their duties because of what happened.

"Di naman pwede lahat ng nangyayari sa MMDA sa inyo sisihin [pero] ang kuwestiyon ko will you also start investigating AGM Fainsan and AGM [Emerson] Carlos in the same way that you suspended Melgar?" asked Cayetano, to which Tolentino answered yes.

"We look forward to resolving this issue by Wednesday...we'll gladly provide you with all the documents needed and we abide by your guidance that we need to have a more proactive hand in the pumping station, not just in Taguig but in other areas as well," added Tolentino.

In an interview after the hearing, Cayetano said he was happy that the issue was being addressed.

"I’m happy with the consultation, but having said that, napakatataas at napakalalapit sa office of the chairman ang mga nagkamali dito. At obviously, may pumoprotekta sa supplier," he said.

"In giving them a few days, we want this issue resolved dahil ayaw natin na maulit itong muli," he added. - BM, GMA News
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