MANILA, Philippines — City Mayors of the Metro Manila Council and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) in a meeting earlier today, agreed that the floods in Metro Manila is getting worse with every passing year and a solution must be implemented to prevent further damage and deaths arising from such calamities.
More than one million people in and around the Philippine capital battled deadly floods Wednesday amid relentless monsoon rains, with neck-deep waters trapping slum dwellers and the wealthy on roofs.
Sixty percent of Manila remained under water and vast tracts of surrounding farmland were also submerged as the deluge stretched into its third day, according to the government.
The death toll from this week’s rain in Manila and nearby provinces rose to 20 on Wednesday after four more people drowned, according to authorities. This brought the confirmed number of people killed across the country since a typhoon triggered heavy rains in late July to 73. (from ABS-CBN News)
“Kailangan na nating aksyonan ang lumalalang sitwasyon ng pagbaha sa ating mga lungsod (We must take immediate action regarding the worsening situation of flooding in our cities),” said MMDA Chairman Atty. Francis Tolentino. “Narito po tayo para magisip ng solusyon at mga hakbang na nararapat para sa mga mamayan ng Metro Manila (We are here to come up with a solution and steps that are needed for the citizens of Metro Manila).”
The mayors mentioned the lack of rubber boats that were dispatched to rescue victims in spite of the previous announcements made by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) that they have acquired enough rubber boats for such occasions.
“Although there are a few, kulang pa din talaga (it is still lacking),” said Mayor Herbert Bautista of Quezon City.
“Buti nalang may idodonate na rubber boats si Ruffy (we’re glad that Ruffy will donate rubber boats),” said Mayor Junjun Binay of Makati City.
The Bureau of Customs (BoC) will be donating 23 rubber boats to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) to help the agency in its rescue operations in Metro Manila and other neighboring provinces that are submerged in water brought about by continuous rains in the past few days.
Customs Commissioner Rufino Biazon posted in his Twitter account on Wednesday that they are turning over 23 confiscated rubber boats to the council.
Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim did not share the enthusiasm of the other mayors though, saying, “Kulang na kulang yang 23 na kwan, rubber boats na yan. Ilang, siyudad ang maghahati-hati dyan sa kwan (Those 23, uhhhm, rubber boats are really inadequate. How many cities would share those uhhhhm things)?!”
Mayor Lim then proposed acquiring thousands of rubber boats, “just-in-case”. The aim is to have 1 rubber boat for every 50 household, to which all mayors agreed.
Citizens outside the meeting room, upon hearing the proposal was heard shouting, “imbes na sa proper sewage at drainage systems ilaan ang pondo, inuuna nyo pa ang bangka (instead on allocating funds for rubber boats, you should instead focus on PROPER sewage and drainage systems)!”
“Pagtuunan nyo ng pansin ang sanhi ng baha at hindi kung anu-anong kagamitan na magagamit tuwing baha (Concentrate your attention on the cause of floods and not on various equipments that will be used during floods)!” said another.
Upon hearing the anger of the citizens outside, the Mayors agreed to go on to the next agenda, which was Leptospirosis.
“Leptospirosis, which is acquired by absorbing floodwaters contaminated with rat urine through cuts in the skin, as we all know, is very dangerous and one of the diseases that can kill during the rainy season,” said Chairman Tolentino.
“That is why we here at MMDA is proud to relaunch one of our successful projects ever, but this time aimed at these mischievous rodents.”
Three men entered the conference room, carrying a familiar pink metal structure labeled “MMDA Male Urinal” and set it down.
Tolentino jokingly said, “Sigurado akong namumukhaan nyo ito. (I’m pretty sure you’re all familiar with this).
“If we were able to discipline Filipinos into urinating in the right place, I’m pretty sure we will be able to achieve the same with these rats.”
A man returned carrying a similar urinal, but this time, 1/16th the size of the first one and set it down.
“We shall teach these rats that they are not allowed to do their deeds anywhere, and with these specially made urinals, there shall be no reason as to why they shall pee in public.”
The chairman revealed that such structures are already erected outside their office and they plan to roll them out to other cities to prevent the spread of leptospirosis.
“Magandang solusyon ito para maiwasan ang pagkamatay ng mga kababayan nating lubhang naapektuhan ng baha (This is a great solution to prevent deaths of our citizen that are greatly affected by the floods),” said the Valenzuela Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian.
Caloocan Mayor Enrico Echiverri was seen nodding his head in agreement.
With a unanimous vote of 17-0, all in favor of the project; expect to see these special urinals in your city very soon.
Citizens outside could only shake their heads in disbelief as to the prioritization skills of their leaders and decided to just go home.
One was heard saying, “Tignan lang natin pag dating ng eleksyon (We’ll see when it’s time for election),” while clenching his fist in anger.