Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Another Spillway for Laguna de Bay

Laguna de Bay is one of the most important sources of livelihood for about 12 million population of the region including Metro- Manila. Informal settlers have swarmed its flat border and become the danger zone during heavy rains and flooding. Another outflow must have to be constructed to avert the loss of lives and properties like the devastations caused by typhoon “Ondoy”. The proposed Paranaque Spillway channel may be avoided and be transferred to another site between Pangil and Paete to Lamon Bay.

During heavy downpour, residents along the affected areas are suffering not only days and weeks but months until the water level subsides. Water at Laguna Lake rose to a level where the inhabitants on its periphery are like living in a water world. Laguna de Bay has an area, approximately, of 90,000 hectares –second to Southeast Asia’s biggest body of freshwater- and water level of 11.5 meters during summer. The water level rose to 14.0 meters on wet season flooding the coastal baranggays. Flood water cannot flow through Pasig river to Manila Bay as the primary outflow was closed by Napindan Channel –which was built in 1983. Opening the passageway will wash away some 25,000 families living along the Pasig River and its tributaries.

Napindan Hydraulic Control System is actually a waste of money. It did not serve the purpose for which it was constructed as shown when Marikina River overflows flooding the City and its neighboring towns unprecedented in its history. The theory that Napindan Channel will block the increasing salinity of the lake due to the intrusion of salt water from Manila Bay will not hold as it is a nature’s way of cleansing the turbidity of the lake and it has been always ever since. The Manggahan Floodway, likewise, did not work as has been designed to function because the water level at Laguna de Bay rose to the level as that of the Marikina River.

The other solution to unburden Laguna Lake of flood water is the proposed construction of Paranaque Spillway. Its feasibility study was undertaken in 1974 under the U.S. Aid Assisted Project with the Government of the Philippines and after twenty-five years it remains a proposal. But Paranaque City is a heavy populated area and the cost of clearing the right-of-way will be a bloody undertakings.

It is now time to find another way to solve the perennial problem of flooding. Construction of spillway and tunnel between Pangil and Paete, Laguna, down to Lamon Bay may be an alternate solution. We can avoid a right-of-way problem and we will be channeling economic progress on the eastern section of Laguna de Bay. The tunnel or passageway, with an estimated 25 kilometers distance, may be put to another use. It may serve as an access road during summer and be closed to travelers during wet season. A feasibility study should now be conducted and project implementation should be put in place before it is too late.

We don’t like to happen again the catastrophe during the recent flooding caused by typhoon “Ondoy” where a number of people standing on the roof of their house being carried by strong current as it passed under the bridge and …disappeared! How many desperate scenes like this –as we have seen right before our eyes- are going to happen before we act together? Should we let them suffer again and again and put the blame to one another? Our action today will be a living legacy that we may impart to the future generations of Filipinos. And it can be said that we did not exist only for ourselves.


Jose said...

This idea of transferring the proposed Paranaque spillway is a good idea and should reach government and those planners responsible in developing a flood control plan for Metro Manila. Another good one is the multi-purpose tunnel to run under Sucat Road that will serve as a flood solution as well as a traffic solution. The tunnel will operate as a 2-level roadway and beneath is a spillway. It is just like the SMART Tunnel in Malaysia (see wikipedia). One can only feel envious with Malaysia for having such a mega-structure. The old 70's proposal of a Paranaque spillway should be not pushed anymore because it has been overtaken by developments. A great number of people and property owners from Paranaque who will be greatly affected will surely resist especially that they will feel being sacrificed because the main cause of the problem with Laguna Lake are the illegal dwellers and dumps converted to lands alongs its banks and their garbage that made the lake shallow. It is high time to think of updated and present day ideas to solve the flood problem of Metro Manila. Shift of the spillway route to Lamon Bay through Pangil and Paete is worth considering.

Rmagin said...

Thanks, Jose, for supporting the idea and hoping more will do the same. If that happened, LLDA and other concerned authorities will be obliged to act 24/7. Are we just going to stare at all the ills being dumped at the lake and all the consequences to the point of irreparability and all we do is to shed tears? There must have to be done!

Jose said...

Hi there Rmagin, just would like you to know that Mr. Antonio Abaya, a well-respected columnist of the Manila Standard Today has basically, in his column published today, the same idea as yours about transferring the spillway to Lamon Bay. (His proposal though is through Famy and Siniloan.) Why haven't the government thought of this idea all this time?

You can interact with him at :

Reactions to tonyabaya@gmail.com or tony_abaya@yahoo.com. Other articles in www.tapatt.net and in acabaya.blogspot.com. To subscribe, click tonyabaya-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.


Rmagin said...

Thanks again, Jose, I will try to reach Mr. Abaya through his site and hope we will be raising the common idea to the concerned government agencies.

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