9 Rizal mayors attend Pasig-Laguna Bay workshop: Climate change, disaster risk reduction prioritized

ANTIPOLO CITY, Rizal, Oct 18 (PIA) — Rizal mayors of municipalities directly adjacent or affected by the Laguna Lake and Pasig River water systems attended a recently concluded inter-agency and inter-regional collaboration workshop at the Marikina Convention Center.

Mayors Joric Gacula (Taytay), Gerry Calderon (Angono), Cecilio Ynares (Binangonan), Joseph Buenaventura (Morong), Jose Rafael Diaz (San Mateo), Cecilio Hernandez (Rodriguez), Bernardo San Juan Jr. (Cardona), Leandro Masikip (Pililia) and Ely Pilias (Jalajala) represented their respective LGUs at the workshop to identify the current situation of the Laguna Lake and Pasig River water basins which directly affects both the NCR and Calabarzon regions specifically Rizal province.

The forum on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction was organized by the Department of the Interior and Local Government Calabarzon and NCR regional offices, Department of Environment and Natural Resources – River Basin Coordinating Office, Laguna Lake Development Authority, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission, and Alliance of Seven (Marikina Watershed) to gather data and opinions from various sectors form the different regions in order to create an action plan to deal with the disasters brought about by the Pasig River-Laguna Lake River water basin’s current state.

The Pasig-Laguna de Bay is one of the country’s 18 major river basin systems.

According to DENR-PBCO Director Vicente Tuddao Jr. Laguna Lake is around 90,000 hectares with 21 river systems while the Pasig River has 24 esteros.

Around 30 years ago the lake’s average depth reached up to 10 meters, however, due to constant erosion and siltation, the average depth of the lake is now just 2.5 meters. These findings may have lead extreme flooding brought about by Typhoon Ondoy in 2009 and by the southwest nonsoon or earlier this year. Various government agency officials shared information to assist in planning.

MMDA Assistant General Manager Emerson Carlos reiterated the need to adapt to the need to adjust to the changes in the weather brought about by climate change which severely affects both the NCR and Calabarzon regions.

Carlos cited drainage in the Espana area as a primary example. “The drainage is designed to hold only 10 to 15mm per hour of rainfall. This means that 15mm per hour rainfall from adjacent communities or provinces may already cause flooding.”

However, according to Carlos, there have already been rainfall levels reaching up to 74mm per hour which is a far cry from the anticipated average of 10mm per hour.

Tuddao, meanwhile, identified the lack of dissolved oygen in the water systems and pollution as other alarming issues.

The lack of dissolved oxygen in the water of Laguna Lake is a major cause of fishkills and reduced fish production while the San Juan River Serves as a large source of nutrient pollution in Metro Manila.

There are also around 104,000 families of informal settlers in Metro Manila alone, majority of whom live in esteros and major river systems contributing to the pollution and are put in immediate danger in case of flooding.

Laguna Lake Development Authority General Manager Neric Acosta said that the lake may be a national focus of development or problems since more than 20 percent of the country’s GDP comes from the NCR and Calabarzon regions and is directly affected by the Pasig-Laguna de Bay river basins. “The impacts caused by climate change will only become more frequent, stronger and more intense.” Said Secretary Acosta.

Local Government Academy Director Marivel Sacedoncillo stated during her talk that Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Issues cut borders and transcend political boundaries.

According to Sacedoncillo, local governments should work as a cohesive unit with vertical and horizontal integration in order to achieve readiness at a ground level.

After the respective sessions from the government officials, DILG NCR Director Renato Brion explained mechanics for the workshop and divided the attendees into groups to create CCA and DRRM action plans. Other attendees include local government executives from Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas and Quezon, regional line government agencies,

Earlier during the forum, host city Marikina was awarded the Seal of Good Housekeeping by DILG 4A and NCR Directors Josefina Castilla-Go and Renato Brion. Marikina Mayor Del De Guzman and Jose Fabian Cadiz received the said award. (GG-PIA4A)



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