Cheaper option to P3.5B flood control project
The Department of Public Works and Highways’ proposed multibillion-peso (P3.5 billion) flood control projects have been presented as the final solution to the flood woes of Metro Manila. And yet the proposal of a Ramon Magsaysay Foundation awardee, the environmentalist lawyer-activist Antonio Oposa, to build several ponds (rainwater catchment basins) at minimal costs may turn out to be sensible and in keeping with the financial capability of our economy.
In pursuing the megaflood control project with staggering costs, its proponents should consider the experience of other countries with floods. For one, the expensive levees which protect New Orleans City from flooding were breached by the fury of Hurricane Katrina, which submerged the city for weeks. In recent years some parts of the United States, China and the United Kingdom were flooded despite their modern infrastructure against floods. And very recently, Hurricane Isaac inundated Lousiana. Indeed, it has been noted in the Unites States that storm-related flooding can take weeks to subside.
Thus there is no guarantee that prohibitive infrastructure can avert flooding. Our government should instead channel these billions of pesos to projects that will strengthen the Philippines’ comparative economic advantage in the global economy, and thus ensure the liberation of the broad masses of our people from the violence of pervasive poverty.
For one, our government should focus and concentrate on making electricity affordable to the great majority of our people. At present, electricity in the Philippines is very expensive compared to other countries in Southeast Asia, and it is available mostly in urban areas. Thus, the government must invest more in energy generation. Indeed, it is always top priority to supply energy to our industries and domestic users. We must endeavor to have a surplus of megawatts so that brownouts or blackouts will never happen again. There must be more government funding for projects in hydro, geothermal, wind and solar power.
—EDWARD B. CONTRERAS,
St. Diane Street, St. Francis Park,
Tanque, Roxas City
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