The Philippines has secured a US$500 million funding from the World Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to improve flood management in select drainage areas in Metro Manila with a counterpart fund of US$84.79 million from the Philippine government.
Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar stressed that the government is taking an important step in the implementation of the Metro Manila Flood Management Master Plan designed to safely control floods in the national capital region and surrounding areas.
“The Master Plan will take 25 years to implement, but this phase of modernizing Metro Manila’s pumping stations will ensure that several million residents will be less vulnerable to floods,” says Villar.
Under the Metro Manila Flood Management Project, 36 existing pumping stations will be modernized, 20 new ones will be constructed, and supporting infrastructure along critical waterways will be improved in the cities of Manila, Pasay, Taguig, Makati, Malabon, Mandaluyong, San Juan, Pasig, Valenzuela, Quezon City, and Caloocan. Many of Metro Manila’s existing pumping stations were built in the 1970s and have become inefficient and underperforming.
Flood events, particularly during the typhoon season from June to October, are a recurring problem in Metro Manila. They cause inundation of roads, exacerbate traffic congestion, and destroy the lives, infrastructure and livelihood of people, especially the poor.
Solid waste clogs waterways and the entries to pumping stations, affecting the operation and maintenance of the pumps. The project will improve management of solid waste within the villages near the drainage systems served by the pumping stations. It will also support the government’s resettlement of informal settlers that are located on the waterways.
Mara Warwick, World Bank Country Director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand says that when floods occur, the capacity of people to earn a living is constrained, and many can fall back into poverty.
“Recurrent flooding has made life more difficult for the poorest populations who live in low-lying areas, on riverbanks, and in other danger zones,”
“The lives of people in metropolitan Manila – especially the poor, women and children – are severely affected by exposure to frequent cyclones and flooding induced by heavy rain. The floods disrupt business and commercial activities, causing unnecessary economic costs,” said Supee Teravaninthorn, Director General for Investment Operations, AIIB. “Investing in sustainable infrastructure is a key priority for AIIB and we feel this project is a great fit for our first investment in the Philippines.”
DPWH and the Metro Manila Development Authority will implement the project in close coordination with local governments and key shelter agencies. Slated to start this year, the project is scheduled to be completed in 2024.
The master plan proposed a set of measures to effectively manage major flood events, which include the following:
- Reduce flooding from river systems that run through the metropolis, by building a dam in the upper Marikina River catchment area in order to reduce peak river flows entering Metro Manila during typhoons and other extreme rainfall events;
- Eliminate long-term flooding in the flood plain of Laguna de Bay, to protect the population living along the shore against high water levels in the lake;
- Improve urban drainage, including modernization of Metro Manila’s pumping stations; and
- Improve flood forecasting, early warning systems, and community-based flood risk management.