Disaster preparedness tops bet's target agenda for Marikina

April 11, 2013 11:33 pm 

MANILA, April 11 — Marikina City Vice-Mayor Dr. Jose Cadiz (Liberal Party) assured prioritizing disaster preparedness initiatives, if re-elected this year, to better protect life, limb and property in his area of jurisdiction.

He set such target in line with his support for running mate and incumbent Marikina City Mayor Del de Guzman's programs, aware of the city's vulnerability to flooding, earthquakes and other disasters amid climate change.

"My priority agenda is to prepare for disaster," he said at State-run PTV 4's 'Paghahanda para sa Hatol ng Bayan' program for the 2013 mid-term polls.

Experts earlier warned West Valley Fault extending through Marikina City is already ripe for movement.

The city also lies in a valley between Sierra Madre Mountains to the east and Quezon City hills to the west, making it vulnerable to flooding and landslides.

"About 30 percent of Marikina residents live in low-lying areas," Cadiz noted.

Latest available data show disaster-related facilities in Marikina City include one public hospital, eight private hospitals and 16 health centers.

A total 17 public schools also operate in the 2,150-hectare city which has 76 firemen and 332 policemen serving its 496,205-strong population, the data also show.

Cadiz said among disaster preparedness initiatives he'll further promote is rehabilitation of Marikina River which traverses the city.

"Slopes of that river's banks must be stabilized in preparation for dredging there," he said.

Authorities earlier raised urgency for dredging Marikina River, noting siltation from decades-long deforestation of surroundings and pollution due to indiscriminate garbage dumping constricted this water body's water flow and blocked natural drainage there.

Siltation and pollution also reduced the river's water-carrying capacity, making it prone to overflows.

One such overflow occurred there during onslaught of storm 'Ondoy' in September 2009 and submerged nearby communities for days.

"We must deepen the river," Cadiz said.

To help boost disaster preparedness, Marikina City partnered with Department of Environment and

Natural Resources (DENR) and Rotary Club of Marikina in holding the first Del Run last year.

The parties held that marathon event to help raise funds for reforesting denuded Marikina Watershed.

Authorities cited the watershed's deforestation as among causes of flooding in the city.

"About 95 percent of the water comes from Marikina Watershed but 80 percent of that area is denuded already so there's no water-holding capacity anymore," Cadiz noted.

Marikina City announced holding the second Del Run on April 28 this year.

The event was named after de Guzman.

His chief of staff Willy Reyes earlier cited need to protect the watershed, noting this is Marikina City's first line of defense.

DENR identified 20 hectares in the watershed for Marikina City to reforest in 25 years, Reyes continued.

He noted the reforestation site is in Sitio Kayrupa, Bgy. San Rafael in Montalban.

The city isn't discounting the possibility of reforesting more of Marikina Watershed after greening the land DENR identified for this purpose, he added. (PNA)

LOR/CJT

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