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READY FOR THE DELUGE? | DILG sets command conference on disaster plan for Metro Manila
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines – The onset of the rainy season has spawned jitters of floods and disaster, and Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II served notice Sunday all agencies will be harnessed to ensure zero casualties, especially among the hundreds of thousands of people in risky shelters along waterways.

Roxas will preside at a command conference on Monday at Camp Crame to unify efforts of various government agencies and stakeholders to mitigate the impact of hazards and strive to attain the “zero casualty” goal

Government focus is on communities along six vital waterways in the metropolis, which account for many of those affected in major floods of recent years.

Roxas said Monday’s conference will tackle plans and actions to boost risk management with local partners and citizens’ organizations.

“It pays to be ready. That’s why we must harmonize plans of different agencies to avoid casualties during disasters,” Roxas said Sunday, speaking mostly in Filipino.

The government is leaving no stone unturned to ensure the safety of people, Roxas added.

DILG data show an estimated 15,773 informal settler-families live on or along six major waterways deemed most vulnerable during the rainy season.

The highest number of so-called ISFs, at 4,567, are living along the 7.3-km San Juan River, a major tributary of the Pasig River system. Tripa de Gallina, a narrow waterway that runs through Pasay, Paranaque and Manila, has 3,684 ISFs and Tullahan River, a 15-km system that flows through the cities of Malabon and Valenzuela, has 3,683 ISFs.

Manggahan Floodway, an artificial waterway built in 1986 to ease flooding along the Pasig River, is home to 1,889 ISFs. The two other waterways in the DILG list are the Pasig River and Maricaban Creek with 1,484 and 516 ISFs, respectively. The Pasig River is a 15-km system that connects Laguna de Bay and Manila Bay.

The government earlier drew up a three-year program to move ISFs to new relocation areas that are either on-site, in-city or near-site. At least 60,000 ISFs are expected to benefit from this program by mid-2016.

Flood drills have been set in 16 barangays along the six waterways. At least 11 affected local government units in the National Capital Region will undergo orientation and consultation meetings to review their risk reduction and management programs as well as contingency plans and hazard maps evacuation plans.

The 11 LGUs are Quezon City, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Manila, Caloocan, Valenzuela, Malabon, Pasig, Pasay, Makati and Taguig.