Solon seeks creation of the National Drainage Authority
TO address the perennial problem of flooding caused by the “tambak” or filling-up practice of Filipinos, a lady lawmaker has proposed the creation of the National Drainage Authority (NDA) that shall study, improve, administer and construct all national drainage systems in the country.
Rep. Kimi Cojuangco (5th District, Pangasinan), author of House Bill 6702, proposed the NDA creation noting the importance of a system solely dedicated for drainage.
Cojuangco said billions if not trillions of pesos of private capital end up trapped in the “tambak” practice as citizens try in vain to cope with the problems of flooding in establishments and residences.
Cojuangco said with the increase in number of “filled” areas comes an increase in the number of lots and properties with entrapped water.
“This not only makes it difficult to develop the land, it becomes a breeding ground for diseases such as dengue which endangers the entire community,” she said.
Cojuangco said there exists a problem with regard to the drainage which the present structure of government can ill address.
“One of the biggest problems the country faces, especially in the urban areas, is flooding. It is evident from the aftermath of Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng, and the recent rainfall that the country’s current drainage system needs to be fixed and updated,” she said.
Cojuangco said the common practice today is to use irrigation channels and canals to serve two functions, irrigation and drainage.
“Irrigation canals need to be at a higher elevation relative to the land so that they can convey water to flood or “irrigate.” On the other hand, drainage canals need to be at a much lower elevation relative to the land so that they may effectively carry water away from the land thereby draining it,” Cojuangco explained.
Cojuangco, a vice-chairperson of the Committees on Basic Education and Culture, Energy and Millennium Development Goals, said having a proper system in place will definitely be a great help in reducing the risk of floods, potentially minimizing the damage taken and lives lost.
Under the measure to be known as the “National Drainage Authority Act of 2012,” the Authority is mandated to investigate all available and possible water resources in the country for the purpose of utilizing the same for drainage and to protect existing water passage right-of-way and implement its acquisition.
The Authority shall set the minimum depth and slope standard of drainage systems so that the water will reach their natural outfalls. It shall plan, design and construct the necessary projects for the next 20 years.
Also, it is directed to collect from users of drainage system fees as may be necessary to finance the continuous operation and reimburse within a certain period not less than 25 years the cost of construction.
The NDA shall be governed by a Board of Directors headed by the Secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the General Manager shall be the chief executive of the Authority.
A working capital of P500,000,000 shall be appropriated for the operation of the Authority.