by Dahren Sta. Ana

FLOOD is still the number one disaster that affects the province of Bulacan.

Pedring and Habagat

The Chairman of the Committee on Environment Protection and Committee on Labor and Employment, Felix “Toti” Ople narrated that last year, as Typhoon Pedring came, it was the major problem that the province of Bulacan faced. Because of the heavy rains and strong winds that it brought, it cause floods in different areas in the province.

This past August, the Southwest Monsoon (Hanging Habagat) did the same thing. Through its continues rains, a wide area in the province had been affected by the flood. The city of Malolos which was not redularly distressed by flood shockingly became one of the severely destructed areas in Bulacan at that time.

According to Ople, the flood caused by Pedring last year was totally different to the flood caused by the monsoon. But during the surge of the monsoon, it was totally spread-out in different towns and cities in the province of Bulacan.

During the typhoon Pedring, the local government did not control the release of water from Angat dam and other dams from Nueva Ecija and Pangasinan which was one of the reasons of the high level of flood in Calumpit and Hagonoy.

But then, Gov. Willy Alvarado, Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando and other board members went to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) of Bulacan to monitor the release of water dams, ordering not to discharge water spontaneously. With that, the local government was able to control the dam releases but then flood has not been prevented because of incessant heavy rainfall.

According to PDRRMC, about 37 barangays were critically affected, experiencing a 1-2 ft high level of flood. In which, 7,050 families had been affected, particularly a total of 35,106 people.

Aspects related to Flooding in Malolos

There are many factors in environment problem regarding floods. First, many subdivisions were built in which fields were put up as subdivision and are in a high area. The tendency is that the water that should be in the subdivision areas settled on the road, going down to a much lower area.

According to Ople, only about 30% of the whole province was allotted in building up subdivisions because a province needs more open spaces, for the floods to spread-out and not to occupy in one place only. If not, it can result to a high level of flood just like what the towns of Hagonoy and Calumpit usually experience.

Second, the rivers and water wastes is also the reason for flooding. There is no maintenance of the excavation of the rivers and water, making it filled with different wastes that results of slow absorption of water. During the term of former Malolos mayor Danny Domingo, there is a program of regular excavation. But then, the present administration did not continue this program. 

Third are the illegal structures along the rivers and water, even in the drainage and irrigation canals in which the flood water would have flowed. This is also one of the reasons in slow subsidence of flood water. There are the squatters who build their houses near the river banks or rivers itself, and some are on top of the drainage canals.

According to Ople, there is a need for cooperation in the local government unit to nip these squatters. But then, a large number of voters were the squatters. Because of this, the officials were afraid to pull out this people. Another problem was the need for a large amount of money as fund for relocation.

Fourth, there are also some distractions like the plastic materials and styrofoam. These materials do not dissolve that can result to clogging of water wastes in drainage canals, a reason also for the flood water not to flow properly. 

Fifth, Malolos as part of Bulacan was also affected by the flood, knowing that the province is the catch basin of flood water in Central Luzon. The flood hurries down to the lowest area. This is the system why the province of Bulacan experience high level of flood.

Possible Answers to Flooding Problems

Ople gave possible solutions on how to prevent the floods in Malolos and also in the whole province of Bulacan.

First, he suggested that there is a need to review and regulate the applications in putting up subdivisions, to give owners/builders proper site and plans to make to prevent the flood, like their household wastes.

Second, the river and water wastes should be excavated for a quicker absorption of flood water. This is one of the reasons why the city of Malolos experience flood in the past Southwest monsoon.

Third, the Local government was already implementing an ordinance of banning the use of plastic materials and styrofoams in the whole province of Bulacan which is one of the reasons of the clogging of water waste and drainage canals.

According to Ople, it was glad to hear that the McDonalds started implementing the use of paper and carton as their packaging in their product. If business and establishments violate tthis ordinance, their business permits must be surrendered. The objective of this ordinance is to help the environment in facing the disaster and calamities that will come.

Lastly is the the ordinance in household waste which it is still in the process of debate. The project's aim is to suck the waste in the septic tank. Though 80% in household waste flows in the river, it is believed that it is the number one cause of pollution in the water waste and drainage. In which, this project is mandatory that all the houses and structures should comply with this at least once a year. Ople also suggested that the MALABANAN Poso Negro should be a law. 

By these possible solutions, Ople hopes that these can help prevent the flood in the province of Bulacan. Although there is no guarantee of total avoidance of it, there might be a chance to lessen the high and dangerous level of flood in province.

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