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MANILA, Philippines - In his visit to the Barangay Silangan covered court in Quezon City that has been converted into an evacuation site, President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday renewed his appeal to residents to "help those who are helping you."
Aquino cited as example some residents who had to be fetched up to five times by rescuers as they waited until the last minute before deciding to leave their inundated properties.
The President said more than the relief operations, rehabilitation efforts would be given primacy by the government.
He said specifics of a plan to retard upstream tributaries of Marikina River will likely be firmed up next week.
The President is now on his way to check on evacuation centers in Caloocan, Malabon, and Valenzuela within the day.
Aquino said weather permitting, he might also visit evacuation sites in Navotas.
Long-term plans for Marikina
In a related development, Aquino III assured displaced residents of Marikina City that a long-term solution to the massive river overflow that they suffer everytime there is inclement weather will be put in place before his term ends in 2016.
Aquino, during his visit to the Nangka Elementary School that has been converted into an evacuation site Thursday morning, said there is a need to "retard" the water coming from the upstream portion of Marikina River.
"We need to retard some 5,000 cubic meters of water from the upstream. How massive is that? One truck of water is about 5 cubic meters so that is 1,000 trucks of water," the President said.
"But I would beg for your indulgence, it will take years to build this kind of embankment," Aquino added.
Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson the embarkments would slow down the waters coming from tributaries to the Marikina River.
He said at least 90 percent of the water that flows through Marikina River come from upstream tributaries.
Aquino was once again accompanied by some of the senatorial bets of the Liberal Party for the 2013 polls, including TESDA director general Joel Villanueva, Aurora Rep. Sonny Angara, and former Akbayan party-list Rep. Risa Hontiveros.
When Angara was being introduced, Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo announced: "Sonny, show your face here because all the people here are pro-impeachment."
Angara and Quimbo were members of the prosecution team that ousted former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Aquino was also joined by other Cabinet members, including Defense chief Voltaire Gazmin and Presidential Communications Development chief Ramon Carandang.
More than 1,229 families or 7000 individuals have taken temporary shelter at the Nangka Elementary School.