Malabon, Navotas brace for heavy flooding after floodgate damage

Mark Ernest Villeza - The Philippine Star
Malabon, Navotas brace for heavy flooding after floodgate damage
Malabon City Mayor Jeannie Sandoval and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) acting chairman Atty. Don Artes inspect the drainage declogging as part of the Bayanihan sa Barangay program of the MMDA at the vicinity of the Malabon City on June 14, 2024.
STAR / Miguel De Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — The city governments of Malabon and Navotas are preparing for possible heavy flooding after a floodgate of the Malabon-Navotas River was damaged.

The floodgate, essential for controlling the flow of water between Manila Bay and the two cities, was damaged when  a barge entered during low tide.

Malabon’s disaster risk reduction and management office (DRRMO) chief Roderick Tongol told The STAR that repairs are pending, with no definite timeline provided by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

Tongol said that the city has contingency plans for potential flooding, including flood warning criteria and evacuation protocols.

Evacuation centers, primarily multipurpose halls and covered courts, are ready, with schools as a last resort.

“Continuous monitoring is in place, and additional rescue boats and vehicles have been acquired to ensure preparedness,” Tongol said in Filipino.

Malabon has at least 43 pumping stations to help reduce flooding in the city.

During a press conference at the MMDA headquarters, Malabon Mayor Jeannie Sandoval called for a long-term solution to the recurring damage to the Malabon-Navotas navigational floodgate, which has led to flooding in several barangays.

“We hope for a long-term solution because repairing it repeatedly is not sustainable. The same problem will recur if a barge forces its way through during low tide,” Sandoval said.

She recalled a similar incident two years ago with the same floodgate, which was repaired by the MMDA and is undergoing repairs again.

The mayor assured that continuous monitoring and the operation of pumps are mitigating the flooding, but warned that the city could still face severe flooding if the floodgate is not fixed before the rainy season intensifies.

Navotas DRRMO chief Von Villanueva expressed concerns about the floodgate’s declining functionality, which recently dropped to zero percent efficiency.

“The facility is under MMDA’s jurisdiction, and we hope repairs will be completed before the ‘weak La Niña’ expected in mid-July,” Villanueva said.

Navotas has at least 69 operational pumping stations to mitigate flooding, particularly in the city’s northern parts.

Acting MMDA Chairman Romando Artes acknowledged the floodgate’s age and the need for a long-term solution.

Artes said that they have reported the damage to Navotas Mayor John Rey Tiangco, who may summon the barge owner responsible for the incident.

The MMDA chief warned of the increased risk of flooding if high tides and storms coincide before repairs are completed.

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