Groups urge congress to probe on Ondoy like situation in Laguna Lake

LAGUNA Lake based groups asked Congress to deputize an all expert investigation in aid of legislation as to why the water level in the 90,000 hectare lake rose to 13.8 meters above sea level which is near the 13.95 meter level recorded during Ondoy in September 2009.

“We want the real score based on expert’s opinion. In aid of legislation, we ask the Philippine Congress to deputize an all expert investigation on the still unexplained increase in the water level of Laguna Lake which is comparable to the situation during tropical storm Ondoy in 2009,” said Pamalakaya vice chairperson and SLLM organizer Salvador France in a press statement.

‘The entire Laguna Lake is swallowed by waters for the second time around since Ondoy in 2009. The people of Laguna de Bay want a science-based explanation to this catastrophic devastation in 9 towns of Rizal and 18 towns of Laguna and South Metro Manila. We call Congress to mobilize experts to determine the truth and nothing but the truth,” the Pamalakaya leader said.

The groups theorized that the overflowing of Laguna Lake was principally attributed to the Napindan Hydraulic Control Structure (NHCS) which is closed at the height of monsoon rains that pounded the National Capital Region, Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog provinces over the last 12 days.

The closed Napindan prevented excess waters from Laguna Lake from flushing out of the bay to Manila Bay via the Pasig River. He said that waters deflected from Marikina River to Laguna Lake and released waters from Caliraya Dam were concentrated in Laguna de Bay- thus transforming the lake into a huge catch basin connecting Rizal, Laguna and a number of cities in the NCR.

Pamalakaya said the flooding in Binangonan had affected 2,009 families in 13 lakeshore barangays in mainland and 9 lakeshore barangays in Talim Island. The group said an initial 364 families were housed in designated evacuation centers as of August 9.

In Laguna side, the provincial government reported that 14 lakeshore municipalities and 4 cities of the province are affected by flooding.  Around 217,420 people were affected, while a total of 11,972 families are currently sheltered in assigned evacuation centers.

“The flood in Laguna Lake will last until Christmas or beyond New Year. We expect a “flooded Christmas season this year like in 2009, unless the government opens Napindan flood control structure and allow excess waters to come out and spill in Manila Bay via Pasig River,” the groups said.

LLDA general manager Neric Acosta said the normal water level of Laguna Lake is 12.5 meters above sea level during rainy season and 10.5 meters above sea level during summer. The LLDA chief said his office has released P 300,000 in total calamity funds to assist the flood victims.

Meanwhile, Pamalakaya said the price of fish in Binangonan went up between 10 percent to 20 percent. The price of milkfish per kilo increased by P 15 per kilo or from P 60 per kilo during the pre-Habagat monsoon rains to P 75 per kilo since last week.


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