Senator Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, has said that a mid-year evaluation of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is in order after seeing how parts of Metro Manila were still experiencing flash flooding brought about by rainfall from two tropical storms.
Escudero is trying to hold the MMDA to their promise of reducing, by 10 percent, the number of flood-prone areas by 2015 while also checking to ensure that the DPWH is wisely using its Php 42.2 million budget allocation in order to curb the incidents of flooding in the metropolis.
“The MMDA has promised that it will work for a 10-percent reduction of flooded areas for a rainfall intensity of less than 40 millimeters per hour and that floodwaters in areas under its jurisdiction will subside 40 minutes to one hour after a downpour measuring less than 40 millimeters per hour,” noted Escudero.
The senator noted that until today, 4,750 hectares of Metro Manila are still affected by flooding.
"Kaya gusto nating tanungin ang DPWH kung ilang porsyento na ba ng 1,295 projects nationwide para sa taong ito ang nasimulan, natapos na or drawing pa lang," Escudero said.
[“That’s why I want to ask the DPWH how many percent of the 1,295 projects nationwide for this year have begun, finished or still in the planning stage,” said Escudero.]
The MMDA has an allotted Php 276 million budget and has also received an additional Php 2.19 billion in subsidy to use for flood control and sewage management on Metro Manila, covering a 63,600-hectare area but Escudero feels like this is not enough.
"I am of the position that the national government's subsidy to MMDA, insofar as flood control is concerned, should be increased... Hindi lang trabaho ng MMDA 'yan, pero ng pambansang pamahalaan din," Escudero said.
["I am of the position that the national government's subsidy to MMDA, insofar as flood control is concerned, should be increased... This is not only the MMDA’s job but also of the national government," Escudero said.]
The DPWH, on the other hand, have split their budget between several districts namely DPWH-North Manila Engineering District with Php 1.26 billion; Php 680 million for the Las Pinas-Muntinlupa District Engineering Office; Php 1.37 billion budgeted between two engineering districts in Quezon City; Php 460 million goes to Malabon-Navotas district office and Php 1.6 billion allotted for the National Capital Region's First District Office.
Those amounts do not include the budget allocated for the DPWH central office and its regional NCR office.
The DPWH did say that it will finish all projects within the scheduled time frame and under the watch of Secretary Rogelio Singson, the agency has been able to speed up their processes resulting in lower costs and faster completion rates.