Developers speak up on Metro’s safetyBy Theresa S. Samaniego
Philippine Daily Inquirer
As doubts are cast over Metro Manila’s capacity to house its residents safely after a deluge of massive flooding and landslides, Inquirer Property polled a number of industry players on their thoughts on this matter. We likewise asked stakeholders as to what measures can and should be implemented by the government to prevent future scenarios similar to this and 2009’s Tropical Storm “Ondoy.” Here are what they have to say:
“Manila is safe. It has been a capital city for centuries. Many capitals like Amsterdam and London have done wonderful things to mitigate flooding.
“It would be good to analyze the need to review the standards for one in 25-, 50- and 100-year storm occurrence. Climate change requires this review and larger storm detention areas must be allocated like in many advanced countries.”—Charlie Rufino, president, The Net Group and chair of ULI Philippines
“Metro Manila is still the most progressive part of the country and living in it is crucial for the majority of taxpayers.
“We just need laws and regulations that will address the flood problem, say for instance, proper garbage disposal and the relocation of those who live in the floodway. It’s a matter of finding politicians with the will, influence and resources.”—Monica Morales, corporate communications manager, Pro Friends
“A comprehensive land-use plan needs to be formulated and strictly implemented and sustained. Given the number of vulnerable areas as well as the very limited land area that we have, this plan’s necessity and urgency cannot be overemphasized.
“Within all metropolitan cities around the world, there are some areas that are geographically safer and some that are more vulnerable than others. In Metro Manila for instance, Marikina, Navotas and other coastal areas will always be on the receiving end of heavy downpours. In case of other natural calamities on the other hand, other areas need to be on the lookout more than others.
“So in the end, much of the usual after-effects can be mitigated if not altogether prevented by simply identifying vulnerable areas then planning and preparing accordingly. Indeed, to be forewarned is to be forearmed. And this, obviously, is where government plays a very major role. But ultimately, the choice of where to build one’s home rests on individuals even if, admittedly, that choice is determined largely by one’s economic condition.”—Maricor M. Manlangit, FVP-strategic planning division, Megaworld Corp.
“Metro Manila remains to be a safe place to live in, but certain changes need to be made. Two things have become apparent: One, the city, with its current facilities, can only sustain a certain density. The newer business districts within the city like Bonifacio Global City, Ortigas Center and Makati fared better than the other parts of Metro Manila precisely because of their upgraded facilities and utilities and the exercise of responsible development of the locators within. Two, we lack discipline. Tons of garbage were seen clogging the drainage system, washed ashore, and floating along with other debris.
“We have to marry technology and discipline. I believe the following measures have to be adopted/implemented by the government: 1) Both the local government units and the national government (through Metropolitan Manila Development Authority) should adopt a comprehensive garbage disposal system; 2) Upgrading of the metropolis’ drainage system is of paramount importance. As the population in the urban area grows, our utilities should be improved. Some of the utilities were built in the ’70s, when the urban population was much smaller; 3) Continuation of the roll-out of the no plastic/styrofoam move already being implemented by some LGUs.”—Industry player who requested anonymity
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