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No to walls, yes to green infra

05:02 AM June 10, 2019

This is in reference to the article “DPWH finishes river wall in Marikina” (News, 6/4/19). Public Works Secretary Mark Villar declared that the completion of a 152-linear-meter river wall with slope protection in Barangay Batasan Hills will better protect Marikina and Quezon City residents from floods.

In 2015, Alfredo Mahar Francisco Lagmay of Project Noah (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards), wrote an article on the P350-billion master flood-control project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) as proposed by the World Bank. He said that big-ticket flood-control projects are a vehicle for corruption and exploitation.

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It is noteworthy to quote Lagmay: “As scientists, we use Ockham’s razor, the principle of choosing the simpler answer between two equally likely solutions to a problem. Between investing in getting people out of hazardous areas and building expensive defenses against floods, we choose the less costly, less risky and more natural means for disaster prevention and mitigation. It is best to allow water to take its natural course and let river floodplains accommodate floodwaters.”

I hope our lawmakers are listening, as they are the ones crafting our budget. Before we go heavy on cement use and despoiling our open spaces, may we first prioritize the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals: (1) No Poverty; (2) Zero Hunger; (3) Good Health and Well-being; (4) Quality Education; (5) Gender Equality; (6) Clean Water and Sanitation; etc.

In short, it is high time to cut the DPWH’s budget and channel it to worthier causes, and to legislate that riverbanks can only accommodate green infrastructure (e.g., coconet, bamboo, nipa, coconut, tambo, etc.) and be barred from any hard infrastructure.

Some of my neighbors have transferred to this side of Marikina to have the river as their view. Sadly, we are now confronted with a swath of visual pollution, such as this river wall.

CHESTER C. CHANG
Barangay Tañong, Marikina City
[email protected]

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TAGS: Chester C. Chang, DPWH, flood-control projects, Inquirer letters, Mahar Lagmay
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