PREVENT FLOODING IN MM, NEARBY PROVINCES, DESILT LAGUNA DE BAY – GORDON
With the recent massive flooding caused by Typhoon Ulysses in Metro Manila and the province of Rizal, Senator Richard J. Gordon called for desilting the Laguna De Bay to avoid flooding of Metro Manila and nearby Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon).
Gordon pointed out that desilting the Laguna De Bay would increase the lake’s holding capacity for rainwater and floodwater, which would spare surrounding communities from being submerged during the typhoon or rainy season.
“It’s about time that we desilt Laguna De Bay. Kung ide-desilt, lalalim ‘yan. Noong nananalanta ang bagyong Ulysses, umabot ng 13.6 above sea level na lagpas na sa maximum critical level nitong 12.50 meters kaya nakadagdag pa ito sa pagbaha,” he said.
Gordon said the bay should be rehabilitated and cleared of fish pens so it could be developed into a tourism attraction and an alternate mode of transportation.
“Kasi unang una, napaka-polluted n’yan. Madumi d’yan so dapat ayusin na ang Laguna De Bay. Ang narinig ko mayroong $30-Million assistance na ino-offer ang Hungary para sa rehabilitation ng Laguna Lake. Napakaganda ng offer na ‘yan. I suppose na kay (Foreign Affairs) Sec. (Teodoro) Locsin na ‘yan at sa kinauukulan kung tatanggapin nila,” he said.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said his government has proposed a $30-million assistance to the Philippine government for the rehabilitation and water treatment of Laguna Lake. He added a formal offer was made during his bilateral meeting with Locsin.
Hungary is known to have the expertise and capability in terms of water management and treatment. It has been credited for successfully improving water condition in Lake Balaton, a fresh water lake in the country’s western region and the largest in Central Europe. Lake Balaton has since been transformed into a bustling tourist destination.
Laguna de Bay, which has a total surface area of 900 square kilometres, is the biggest lake and one of the most important inland bodies of water in the country. It is also the second biggest inland freshwater lake in Southeast Asia.
Over the years, efforts to rehabilitate Laguna Lake have been delayed due to legal challenges and setbacks. In 2012, former President Benigno Aquino junked an P18.7-billion rehabilitation deal entered into by his predecessor, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, with Belgian firm Baggerwerken Decloedt En Zoon (BDC), citing irregularities.