Resident’s appeal to PNoy

WITH the new administration, the much-delayed Valenzuela-Obando-Meycauayan (VOM) flood control project that’s supposed to cover bigger portions of the northern city in Metro Manila to the adjoining areas of Bulacan province should now be given focus since these localities have always been under water rain or shine.

A long-time friend, Councilor Alvin Feliciano, president of Liga ng Barangay of Valenzuela, who has been pushing for the project for years, is now extra optimistic that PNoy would include in his priorities the realization of the multi-billion project of the Department of Public Works and Highways designed to make perennial flooding in the affected areas a thing of the past.

“It has long been overdue,” says Feliciano as he decries the apparent neglect demonstrated by the past administration to prioritize the undertakings in spite of the urgency as compared with its other trivial projects that only enriched the already bloated pockets of ex-President Arroyo’s men.

Feliciano adds: “The city of Valenzuela is appealing to President Aquino to please give attention to the problem we and our neighboring localities are experiencing for decades. Maybe he will be the answer.”

There’s also logic in Feliciano’s questioning behind giving the name “CAMANAVA (Caloocan-Malabon-Navotas-Valenzuela) mega flood control project” when the city of Valenzuela was in fact not included. He’s referring to the 2003 Japan International Cooperation Agency-funded mega dike project that cost some P5.18-billion and covered only the adjoining cities.

There was big misconception for including the city in the project when in fact it is not, so it is only proper that the government should speed up the implementation of VOM flood control project because it will surely solve perennial flooding in Valenzuela, according to Feliciano who heads the league of 32 village chairmen in the city.

Engineer Carla Bartolo, who’s been in charge of the 18.5 sq. km. mega dike project, boasts that it has effectively resolved flooding in almost all areas in the northern part of Metro Manila.

But more knowledgeable people especially in Malabon say otherwise. They say it was a damn failure. An advisory council in Malabon has blasted the DPWH for its apparent “ineptness and dilly-dallying work attitude,” resulting to its continued delay.

Started in June 2003, it’s supposed to be fully operational in June 2007, but it moved its completion in September 2008, then to December 2009, and remains unfinished up to now.

As I look at it, there are still much to be done like the upgrading of the Malabon river walls and construction of the Catmon main drainage and retarding ponds. With its festering delay, it’s bringing much agony to the residents and headache to the locals officials as well.

Back to VOM project, Feliciano laments that despite the best programs of the local government, through the combined efforts of Mayor Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian and 1st District Congressman Rex Gatchalian, flooding remains a huge predicament for residents.

As such, residents as well as those from the towns in nearby Bulacan reiterate their appeal to the President to lend an ear to their request since their localities have always gone through a deluge especially during heavy downpour and typhoons.

They believe that once the VOM flood control project is completed, life would be easier and there would be little threat of floods whenever a typhoon hits the country.

Valenzuela Govt and Gawad Kalinga Partnership

Relatedly, a year after the Ondoy tragedy, that ripped off the homes of those living alongside Tullahan River, beneficiary families of Disiplina Village could now look forward for a more prosperous New Year after the Valenzuela City government and Dakilang Handog Foundation, Inc. recently inked an agreement with Gawad Kalinga to help build the initial three clusters out of 56 clusters, 16-unit housing buildings to be built according to the plan.

According to city engineering officer-in-charge Praceli Nelson, some 48 families that are currently living in the village on temporary shelters will soon to occupy the units or maybe before the year ends.  These families totally lost their homes during Ondoy’s wrath last year.

Disiplina Village is a 1.9 hectare resettlement site in Barangay Ugong that was put up exclusively for the Ondoy victims. Established in partnership with private entities in the city through the foundation, it was born as the city’s concrete direction towards building safer homes for Valenzuelanos who are living in danger zones, according to Gatchalian. Arlie o. Calalo

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