(METRO NEWS) Taguig road dike saves lives

October 9, 2009 9:57 am 

MANILA, Oct. 9 – Taguig residents living near the shoreline of Laguna Lake are convinced that the construction of the Taguig road dike saved them from a possible flash flood at the height of typhoon “Ondoy” that claimed hundreds of lives and damaged millions worth of properties in Metro Manila.

Taguig Mayor Freddie R. Tinga said many Taguig residents, particularly those from the first district or Lower Taguig, have expressed their relief after being spared from “The Great Flood” and have now realized the benefits of the road dike.

The North Laguna Lakeshore Urgent Flood Control and Drainage, or commonly known as the Road Dike, was built to help ease the flood problem in key Metro Manila areas, including Taguig, and to serve as a major road network linking Rizal province to Southern Luzon.

Rene Flores, barangay chairman of Ibayo-Tipas, said the road dike served as their barrier, which prevented the water from Laguna Lake from surging to the lakeshore communities and causing a massive flash flood.

Despite this, the road dike didn’t prevent the heavy downpour of rain brought by Ondoy from flooding several parts of the city. Ondoy’s record-breaking rainfall submerged Taguig’s 15 of 28 barangays, all of which are near Laguna Lake and are flood-prone areas.

But 70-year-old Herminia Perez, a resident of M. L. Quezon St. in Brgy. Lower Bicutan, said the floods caused by Ondoy were nothing compared to what they used to experience before the road dike was built.

She recalled that in the past, majority of Taguig would be flooded even with the smallest amount of rainfall. In rare instances of heavy rain, such as in the case of Ondoy, flood waters would take two to three months to completely recede, depending on when the water in Laguna Lake would go back to normal level.

“The dike was indeed a blessing for us. In the past, it took two to three months before flood waters receded.

More than a barrier, the road dike pumps the flood waters back to the Laguna Lake.

Eighty-one-year-old Taguig native lawyer Eufracio D. Santos advised critics of the road dike to just appreciate the benefits of the project and be thankful that it had eased what used to be a perennial problem of flooding in Taguig.

Mayor Tinga vowed to push for the continuation of other phases of development of the North Laguna Lakeshore Urgent Flood Control and Drainage, to help address the flooding problems in areas in Taguig not covered by the road dike.

The construction of the Road Dike was initiated in the early 1990s, designed and funded by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). But the project was stalled after several groups, including some grandstanding politicians, protested against it.

In 2002, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo allowed the project to continue after local government leaders, led by Mayor Tinga, then Pasig Mayor Soledad Eusebio and then Pateros Mayor Rosendo Capco, appealed for its implementation. (PNA)



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