Goes the old saying: “Water, water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink.”
The adage is not totally true everywhere, but there are many areas in Metro Manila where residents complain about the lack of potable water. Maynilad explained that water in the country’s reservoir dams is dirty it has stopped production and distribution.
Relentless monsoon rains unleashed by back-to-back tropical storms flooded the National Capital Region, Central and Northern Luzon. Knee-deep and waist-high floodwaters were a familiar sight in Bulacan and Pampanga towns It was the same story in almost all of the towns and cities in Pangasinan. The major TV networks kept showing daily the suffering of people in the flooded-areas.
In Metro Manila, the worst hit were the areas near the Marikina River, particularly Provident Village.
Marikina residents recalled that last week’s incessant rains and the floodwaters were as deep and devastating as Ondoy in 2009 that sent some Provident Village residents to the rooftops of their houses. I had an older brother who despite being sick managed to make it to the roof of his house.
If at all, the relentless rains and the ensuing floodwater showed the people’s resilience and Filipinos’ “bayanihan” spirit. Children and the elderly were helped into lifeboats manned by neighborhood rescue teams. TV footage of two couples getting married in a church with ankle-deep floodwaters in Bulacan and Pampanga went viral. Undaunted by the inclement weather, the Bulacan newlyweds also had their months-old baby baptized. The newly- weds showed the world that love will survive as they vowed to have each other for bad weather or worse.
The flooding problem in Metro Manila can be traced to the water flowing from the mountains near Montalban and Antipolo. It needs to flow into the Pasig River leading to Manila Bay. Other water arteries are clogged with garbage mindlessly thrown by residents and informal settlers living along the river banks and esteros of the metropolis. Along Manila Bay, 64 dump trucks hauled tons of trash that washed on Roxas Boulevard. Plastic bags, bottles and all sorts of garbage were collected by Manila’s sanitation workers.
Compounding the problem was the P94-billion dredging project of Laguna Lake scrapped by the Aquino administration This resulted in several Laguna towns including Sta. Cruz to be flooded with muddy waters sometime staying for nearly a month.
Aside from the human toll, damage to infrastructure and agricultural crops can reach billions of pesos, further raising the cost of rice, vegetables and other basic commodities. This is as if the runaway TRAIN wreck hasn’t done enough to drive up prices.
Amid this human suffering people are asking where President Rodrigo Duterte was. Special Presidential Assistant Christopher “Bong” Go said the President is in Davao but he is monitoring the flood situation. We supposed SPA Go is also doing the monitoring for his boss. Normally, the Executive Secretary is the “Little President” but in this case SPA Go is the man to go to if you need information and assistance. Classes have been suspended in many parts of the country due to impassable roads and flooded classrooms.
But the smugglers of shabu and rice continue their operation in defiance of Customs officials at the country’s harbors. There has been no suspension of their nefarious activities despite the bad weather.
Women forming a third force
Presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte is on to something as she wins over other women of power and influence to her newly formed Hugpong ng Pagbabago. Inday Sara so far has gained the affiliation of billionaire Senator Cynthia Villar’s Nacionalista Party, Imee Marcos’ Solid North Ilocano bloc and Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte whose father is former House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.
This is a formidable voting bloc which could take away the wind from the sail of whatever political plans Vice President Leni Robredo, ousted Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and retired Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales have in the 2019 midterm elections and the presidential race in 2022. We have to hear whether former President and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will join Sara’s newly formed party. We won’t be surprised if Speaker Arroyo does. After all, Inday Sara had a hand in installing GMA as Speaker, deposing Pantaleon Alvarez.