How Malabon residents live with floods

Posted at 06/19/12 2:18 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Floods affected at least 14 barangays in Malabon City Monday after heavy rains hit Metro Manila since Sunday night.

The Malabon Disaster and Public Safety Office said the floods reached as high as 28 inches in several barangays before subsiding shortly before noon.

In Navotas, knee-deep floods hit the municipal hall and surrounding areas.

"Yung high tide po ay isa sa factor na nasabayan ng malakas na ulan. Dahil din po sa malakas na hangin kaya mabagal yung pag-subside ng tubig,” local disaster chief Roderick Tongol said.

Residents of Malabon and Navotas said the floods are nothing new.

Crisanta Pruel said she had to walk half a kilometer towards high ground just to be able to go to work on Monday.

“We’re used to it. It’s been like this for 8 years. Sometimes, the floods are even higher," she said.

Violeta Calimlim, a resident of Barangay Tonsuya, said she had to evacuate her family after the floods reached up to her waist.

Calimlim said construction work to elevate houses in their barangay have so far failed to keep away the rising floods.

“Dito halos lahat, lalo yung may pera, nagsisipag-tambakan na pero ilang tambak na wala pa ring nangyayari. Inaabot pa rin,” he said.

Weather not solely to blame

Authorities said stormy weather isn’t the only reason why floods are high in Malabon.

After the recent flood, Metro Manila Development Authority personnel conducted cleaning operations as tons of garbage, including Styrofoam cups and other materials, clogged waterways.

Rolando Perez of the MMDA flood control said residents should be more careful about how they dispose of their garbage. Last year, the MMDA collected 76 truckloads of garbage and silt from the Pinagsabugan and Longos creeks in Malabon during an Estero Blitz campaign.

“They are the ones who are affected by the floods. We do a cleanup and a few days later, there’s more garbage. That’s why there are floods even when there’s little rain,” he said.

Tongol said a local anti-littering program has proven ineffective in curbing the garbage problem.

“May program ho kaming anti-littering dito, pero sadya ho talagang matigas ang ulo ng ating mga kababayan,” he said.

He said a new anti-littering ordinance is expected to be passed by the city council anytime soon. The new ordinance imposes heavy fines as well as possible jail time for litterbugs.

Malabon and Navotas are situated along the coastline of Manila Bay. They are considered to have some of the lowest elevation levels in Metro Manila, making them prone to flooding.