This post is in support of the project of the Marikina City Hall. Let us help each other to save our environment, our homes, our lives, and the lives of our loved ones and our countrymen.
A Marathon to Save Marikina Watershed
A new Marikina Marathon happens this April 2012 to stimulate awareness and intensify the campaign “Saving the Marikina Watershed.” Dubbed as DEL RUN, the event will cover 3, 5, and 16 kilometers of roads within the city. For every registration, 10 trees will be planted. The proceeds of the project will be used for more massive tree planting activities in the watershed.
Del Run is an opportunity for people who care for a green environment to converge, have fun, and support a noble cause. Ondoy’s stigma lingers, but something can be done to prevent it from happening again. The time is NOW.
Project Objective: To save the Marikina watershed from further degradation and save the metropolis from another Ondoy.
Venue and Time: Marikina Sports Center, Marikina City, April 15, 2012.
A Commitment for the Environment – The Sierra Madre Mountains
President Benigno Aquino III, declared September 26 as “Save Sierra Madre Day” the anniversary of Typhoon Ondoy, which brought heavy rains
that flooded major cities in Metro Manila and took the lives of many of our countrymen. Most of the flooding can be attributed to the continuous deforestation of the Sierra Madre mountains.
Two years after Tropical Storm “Ondoy,” the victims of its most devastating wrath, remained inundated with promises and that never again would they ever be placed at such a horrific risk.
Marikina cannot do it alone. It should be a concerted effort of all stakeholders to restore the green forest of Sierra Madre. Sec. Ramon Paje promised to plant 5 million seedlings over 10,000 hectares up to 2016, the end of President Benigno Aquino III’s term.
In a “Statement of Commitment” he signed with other stakeholders, the agency will plant five million trees to rehabilitate the Marikina watershed to enhance its water-holding capacity and reduce siltation and flash flooding.
Among the endangered wildlife species found in the Marikina watershed include the forest trees narra, red and white lauan, bagtikan, kamagong, and molave.
Another Ondoy Feared
Congressman Miro Quimbo said that to make the watershed effective in preventing floods, at least 25 million trees had to be replanted. He said that almost 80 percent of the 28,000-hectare watershed had been denuded. He also added that it would take at least 10 years to effectively replant in the area.
With global warming taking its toll, we continue to worry that more rains will be forthcoming in the next two years, and we cannot wait that long. We fear another Ondoy happening unless immediate and comprehensive flood mitigation programs are implemented along the river.”
Quimbo also explored the possibility of putting up a dam in the town of Rodriguez (formerly Montalban) as the quickest solution.
Owing to the siltation of the Marikina River, further aggravated by the upstream from Ondoy two years ago, the river’s containment capacity is down by 60 percent from eight years years ago.
Water Impounding – A New Dam Project
The watershed is also seen as a potential source of water supply for Metro Manila. This can play a vital role in regulating flooding in the low-lying areas of Rizal and the metropolis.
Quimbo also stressed out that a dam located upriver would contain the rain water for a few hours instead of immediately bringing it down to the Marikina River system.
The dam can also be a source of energy which the country needs in the next three years. Based on the reports of the Department of Energy (DOE), the country will have critical levels of power by 2014.
Other intermediate steps that need to be immediately funded are water impounding areas in Antipolo City and slope and embankment protection along the Marikina River. He called for a more comprehensive plan to address flooding in Marikina, which will also involve its surrounding cities and municipalities, especially Antipolo, Pasig, San Mateo, and Rodriguez. 90 percent of the floodwater that Marikina catches comes from Antipolo and Rodriguez.
First Line of Defense
Marikina Mayor Del de Guzman vowed to make the watershed reforestation his priority. “It is called Marikina watershed because it is ours. And the
responsibility to take care of it and protect it lie with us,” De Guzman stressed. “This is our first line of defense. When this is gone, all the floodwater will go toward Marikina. Whatever due diligence Mariqueños do in terms of waste segregation, cleanup, and rehabilatation of our drainage and creek system, if our neighbors do not cooperate, we will continue to suffer. Water now rises so fast even with minimal rain. Heavy rains lasting only two hours already swell the river. It used to take at least six to seven hours of continuous rain for that to happen.”