DENR: Over 100 barangays at risk of flooding

Bella Cariaso - The Philippine Star
DENR: Over 100 barangays at risk of flooding
Residents ride improvised boats to cross flooded streets in Barangay Meysulao in Calumpit, Bulacan July 29, 2023.
Ernie Peñaredondo

MANILA, Philippines — Amid the worsening impact of climate change, more than 100 barangays in the country were identified by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as most at risk of flooding, a ranking official said.

Environment Undersecretary Carlos David did not identify these barangays, but said many of these are located along the Pampanga River, which traverses the provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga and Nueva Ecija.

He added that some of these most vulnerable barangays are located in Mindanao.

David stressed the need for each of these barangays to be more proactive in their approach to lessen the impact of flooding in their respective localities.

“It is really on a case-to-case basis as there are two neighboring barangays where one has early warning (system and) knows the solution to the problem, but we also have a barangay that does not have an understanding of the problem. They only react if the problem is already there. If there is rescue, recovery and rehabilitation, it means the problem has already happened,” he said.

David noted that the goal should be to prevent flooding and to come up with a comprehensive solution to the problem.

“We need to understand that the flood waters are also used for irrigation, domestic use, aquaculture, ecotourism and hydro power. So why is it that the immediate solution is to bring the flood waters to the oceans. Our strategy should be to store the water, impound, so we can have it for future use,” he added.

According to the officials, the government’s top priorities include disaster preparedness, early warning, preparation, applying appropriate technology and mitigating floods.

“Our number one priority is saving lives and properties,” David said.

As for the recent flooding in Metro Manila, David attributed this to the issue of infrastructure design and indiscriminate dumping of garbage.

“For me, the scientific approach to designing will go a long way. The solid waste problems clog our esteros and canals (and) these are interconnected problems,” he said.

Metro Manila, he added, has at least 28 esteros.

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