BRIEFING. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. attends a situation briefing at the Ozamiz City airport in Misamis Occidental province on Wednesday (Jan. 11, 2022). Marcos directed the Department of Public Works and Highway to find out short and long-term solution to improve flood control measures in Northern Mindanao. (Screengrab from RTVM)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Wednesday directed the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to find out short and long-term efforts to improve flood control measures in Northern Mindanao.

In a situation briefing in Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental province, Marcos ordered the DPWH to conduct risk assessment to prevent more accidents and save lives during natural calamities like heavy rains and flooding.

“Ang gagawin ng Public Works, they will do the assessment first kung anong trabaho ang kailangang gawin (The Public works will do the assessment first and see what needs to be done), how much was the damage, and then they will see how we will correct the damage and kung kaya natin gawin because kung mataas pa ang tubig baka di natin magawa agad (if we can do it now because if the water is high, we might not be able to do it immediately),” he said.

“There are methods naman na kahit di pa naayos mayroon na tayong mailalagay na protection kahit temporary lang muna hangga’t maayos na talaga natin yung mga flood control, mga dike (There are methods we can do even if it’s not completely solved, we can put temporary protection until we improve our flood control systems like dikes). We will try to do it as quickly as possible,” he added.

He said “band-aid” solutions could be carried out to prevent further flooding in flood-prone provinces, but long-term solutions must also be prioritized.

"Patuloy tayong maghuhukay sa mga ilog para gawing malalim, para hindi.. para mabilis na – mabilis na lumabas ang tubig sa ilog at patuloy natin patitibayin ang mga flood control natin (We will continue to dredge the rivers to make them deep, so that the water can come out of the river quickly and we will continue to strengthen our flood controls),” he said.

"Ngunit, sa long-term kailangan nating isipin kung papaano natin gagawin para hindi na talaga maulit. Wala na tayong risk na ganito ang mangyari (But, in the long-term, we have to think about how we can do it so that it doesn't happen again. We don't have the risk of something like this happening anymore),” he added.

He suggested seeking the assistance of Japan, which he said has vast experience and expertise in dealing with flooding.

Repair of school buildings

Marcos also ordered the immediate release of more than PHP3 million for the repair of school buildings damaged by the floods in the province.

“If the LGUs [local government units] can take the load, we can send you the PHP3 million plus immediately…I’m talking about the school buildings for the repair. Yeah do it. By administration na lang para mas mabilis. Mas mabilis and mas mura (The administration will do it so that it’s faster and cheaper),” Marcos said.

There are over 60 classrooms that were flooded as a result of the downpour caused by the shear line, data from local officials showed.

Weeks of heavy downpour damaged bridges and other infrastructure, including the flood control system constructed by the government, according to local officials.

Data from local officials showed that a total of 76 infrastructure, amounting to PHP132.14 million were damaged, including two bridges in Oroquieta City.

A total of 5,594.75 hectares or PHP154.38 million worth of damage to agriculture has been recorded in Northern Mindanao. (PNA)