RICE DONATION. Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri (right) poses with Zamboanga City officials Thursday (Nov. 3, 2022) after he turned over some 15 metric tons of rice donations for the victims of Tropical Storm Paeng to Mayor John Dalipe (center) and 1st District Rep. Khymer Adan Olaso (left). On the same day, Zubiri also visited Cotabato City and the provinces of Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat to donate rice for typhoon victims. (Photo by Teofilo Garcia Jr.)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri on Thursday proposed to the city government to build a mega dike in danger zones to prevent devastating floods in the future.

Zubiri flew here to turn over to Mayor John Dalipe some 15 metric tons of rice that he and several civic groups donated for the victims of Severe Tropical Storm Paeng.

In a press briefing, Zubiri vowed to support the city government in making the project be realized through funding from the national government, coupled with soft loans from funding agencies, like the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

He noted that a mega dike was built in Cagayan de Oro City after Typhoon Sendong hit the area some 10 years ago, causing massive floods that resulted in the death of a thousand people.

He said the mega dike project was built with the support of JICA after the city government relocated the residents, including informal settlers, from danger zones or no-build zones to places safe for habitation.

Zubiri said the mega dike should be built in danger zones such as the Tumaga River, which crisscrosses several heavily populated barangays.

“We also want to do it here in Zamboanga City,” Zubiri said as he committed to help negotiate with JICA for a soft loan.

The City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office said over 10,000 families or 60,000 individuals were affected by flash floods when the Tumaga River overflowed due to heavy downpour.

Meanwhile, Zubiri emphasized the need for a national agency for disaster management to take charge of emergency services, rehabilitation efforts, and information drive, among others.

“Coordinating the body is not enough. It only comes to life if there is a calamity,” he said.

From here, Zubiri flew to Cotabato City and visited the provinces of Maguindanao, and Sultan Kudarat and also turned over to the local government officials rice donations for Paeng victims. (PNA)