(File photo courtesy of PH Navy)

MANILA – The Quezon City government and National Housing Authority (NHA) will soon relocate residents and families living near the city’s hazard-prone areas such as waterways.

The move will avoid loss of lives, especially during typhoons, flash floods, and other natural calamities, the Quezon City Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Office (QCDRRMO) said in a statement issued Monday night.

Data from the QCDRRMO showed that as of December 2021, there are 22,688 informal settler families living along danger zones.

"The city will assist the NHA fulfill its mandate to relocate those living along danger zones. So no more lives will be lost as the weather becomes more adverse as a result of climate change," said Maria Bianca Perez, QC DRRMO Research and Planning chief.

Early morning Sunday, two female bodies, both 15 years old and believed to have drowned in the flash flood caused by a heavy downpour the night before, were found in separate areas in the city.

They were with their respective partners under a bridge along Philand Road in Barangay Culiat when floodwater rapidly rose around 8 p.m. on Saturday.

One of the male partners said they fled to higher ground but the two girls were swept away.

The Talipapa Police Station 3 said the first victim was found lying on the riverside of Mindanao Avenue near Pasong Tamo Bridge III in Barangay Bahay Toro at around midnight.

Three hours later, the second victim was found along the riverside of Lorraine Street in Parkway Village, Barangay Apolonio Samson.

Mayor Joy Belmonte had extended her condolences to the families of the victims and assured that the city government will provide assistance. 

The QCDRRMO said the relocation of families living in high-risk areas will be among the urgent priorities of the city government under its Drainage Master Plan (DMP).

Parte ng binubuo nating DMP ang Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRMM) intervention kung saan ire-relocate natin ang mga pamilyang nakatira sa mga mapanganib na lugar at palalakasin ang ating early warning systems sa mga komunidad (Part of our DMP plan are the DRMM interventions where we will relocate these families living in danger zones as we strengthen our community early warning systems),” Perez said.

She said the families will be transferred to relocation sites already established by the city government.

Perez said key infrastructure projects to mitigate flooding in the city will also be undertaken, with the QCDRRMO and other city departments to revisit the DRRM plan of every village. 

Flood control projects

Meanwhile, Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. filed a resolution seeking to check on existing flood control projects in Metro Manila and other flood-prone areas of the country.

He said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) should update the Senate on their efforts and status of their plans to mitigate massive flooding.

DPWH recently reported that 13,224 flood control structures nationwide were completed in the last six years.

MMDA also assured during a recent “Laging Handa” public briefing that pumping stations in Metro Manila are ready and at 100 percent capacity for the rainy season.

"The commuting public have been laden with this decades-old issue. It is high time we look into this before it is too late,” Revilla said in a statement Tuesday.

Over the weekend, commuters and drivers shared on social media video clips and photos of roads that were impassable due to the downpour on Saturday night.

"The dilemma of flooding is not new to the plight of many Filipinos. However, the problem seems to have gotten worse over the years, especially with climate change which evidently affected natural calamities. Each passing year we witness more roads getting flooded, and more people getting endangered," Revilla said. (PNA)