The development of subdivisions in high areas is aggravating the flooding in low-lying areas, according to Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Undersecretary Renato Solidum Jr.
Interviewed on Dobol B sa News TV on Sunday, Solidum said the asphalting in subdivisions is reducing the capacity of the soil to hold and absorb water.
“'Yung mga subdivision na itinatayo sa taas ng Marikina, Montalban, San Mateo, at sa ibang parte ng Antipolo ay nagpapabawas ng kapasidad ng lupa na masipsip 'yung tubig ulan dahil ito ay nasemento,” he said.
“Imbes pumasok sa loob ay aagos. Magkakaroon ng surface flow. Pupunta lang bigla 'yan sa ilog. Ibig sabihin imbes na dahan-dahan pa siyang dumaan doon, mapupuno bigla 'yung ilog, biglang taas, at mas bibilis aagos ang baha,” he added.
Aside from this, Solidum said quarrying activities and the lack of vegetation also contributed to flooding. “Delikado po talaga ‘yan.”
Due to this, Solidum suggested considering appropriate land use planning involving the development of residential and commercial areas as well as forest reserves to keep people safe from possible hazards.
“Ito 'yung tinatawag na tamang land use planning…Kung hahayaan lang natin ang bawat local government units na mag-decide, paano naman ‘yung mga bayan na nasa baba?” he said.
“Ang problema diyan, kanya-kanya. Wala tayong integrated land use planning sa watershed kaya nga ‘yung pinapanukalang batas na Land Use Act, napasa na po ‘yan sa House of Representatives,” he added.
According to Solidum, the bill is rarely being discussed in the Senate.
Solidum also suggested building high-rise residential establishments in safer areas to reduce the risk of flooding.
For Solidum, the public should be aware of these hazards. He encouraged the public to check possible hazards in their location through DOST’s Hazard Hunter application.
Amid the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses, floods hit the provinces of Cagayan and Isabela, where many people were stranded on rooftops for three days without food and water as they waited to be rescued.
Government officials and several groups attributed the calamity to climate change, mining deforestation, management of Magat Dam’s water release, among others.
In Metro Manila and nearby provinces, many areas were also flooded after Ulysses dumped heavy rains. Among the heavily flooded areas were Marikina City and Rodriguez and San Mateo in Rizal province. —KG, GMA News