Tag Archives: ondoy

Work Together for a Better Future

Last Saturday, we were at the La Mesa EcoPark for an environment seminar for the barangay leaders of Tullahan. We were there to teach them the basics of solid waste management, and show them some model communities who have been successful in implementing their waste management programs… and teach them how these communities did it so they can do it as well.

They were really keen especially since they have been hit hard by Ondoy. We told them that if they do things right, then possibly, and at the very least, they could help lessen the impact of yet another catastrophe (knock on wood). I know that tomorrow, they’ll be visiting Kilus Foundation to help them maybe set up a livelihood program (or get inspired), and also a model community in Novaliches.

I really love how the organizer, Ms. Lexi Berbano (and company) prepared this particular project for them — know their needs first, feed their mind (and bodies, of course), and then really come up with a concrete project to help them. Then it’s gonna be all up to the community to sustain the project — and I pray that they would be successful.

I also loved Voltaire Alferez’ talk. He talked about man being the most useless of creatures, and that our only responsibility here on Earth is to take care of God’s creation… but too bad, instead of doing that, we have abused the Earth… and because of that, we are experiencing catastrophes… and that we need to do work together to help ourselves.

The best thing we could ever give our love ones, our children, and the children of our children, is the chance to live — the chance to live in a better, safer, cleaner place… and we need to act on this now.

… now for forever.

Dredging the Malabon – Tullahan River

Here’s a piece of good news from the government — the Department of Environment and Natural Resources allocated PhP10 million for the dredging of the Malabon-Tullahan River.

This, after President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ordered the speedy dredging of the rivers (GMAT prep, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Taskforce Environment prep — hehe, I invented the term). This is to remove clogs and to facilitate a smoother water flow — total opposite of what we experienced this past Ondoy disaster where the whole of Metro Manila got under water.

This may be just a small amount (the 10 million from DENR), but I am sure all the other concerned government agencies will put in money for this MUST project… and I’m positive that after what had happened, they will make sure that this is done.

… and, maybe, while the dredging is being done, us people can do our share by finally obeying the law, and properly managing our wastes (most especially plastic which clogs our waterways!).

Anyway, here is part of the report (rest of the entry is at denr.gov.ph):

DENR allocates Php10 million for the dredging of Malabon-Tullahan River

The dredging of portion of the Malabon-Tullahan River in Barangays Maysilo and Tenejeros in Malabon City will soon start after Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Lito Atienza and Malabon City Mayor Tito Oreta signed Wednesday (Oct. 7) the memorandum of agreement allocating Php 10 million for the project.

This, even as he called on Malabon residents and local officials to actively pursue proper waste management as mandated by the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act or Republic Act No. 9003.

“The dredging and clean-up of the Tullahan river is part of the DENR’s program to clean up Manila Bay as directed by the Supreme Court last December. However, the success of our endeavor depends on the community’s participation and the local government’s sincerity to implement the project as well as their compliance to RA 9003 and all other environmental laws,” Atienza said.

Climate Change Hits the Philippines. We Will Recover.

We will.

The Philippines is one of the most vulnerable when we talk about Climate Change. Why? It is an archipelago — with a long coastline of 32,400 kilometers from which 70% of the country’s 1,500 municipalities derive income.

The past few weeks seemed like a teaser on what’s gonna come if we don’t straighten our acts now. I remember having posted that I attended a convention where Rep. Acosta said that parts of the Philippines will be literally under water in about 50 years. With Ondoy and Pepeng, did everything come sooner than our local Climate Change experts predicted? I hope not. Please, not.

This is not the first though. Globally, Tokyo had a snowless winter in 2007 — a first in 131 years; in New York and New Hampshire, freezing temperature knocked out electricity to nearly 70,000 customers — then, there was a heatwave in New York too, early February 2007.


In Manila, the climate has gone erratic. In 2004, Typhoon Winnie caused landslides and flash floods in Quezon, and reports say that the death toll stood at 412, with 177 people missing. In February 2006, an estimated 1,500 to 2,500 people died after the village of Guinsaugon, Leyte was buried by mudflow. This mudslide happened after heavy rains dumped 459.2 millimeters of rain in only 3 days.

In September 2006, super typhoon Milenyo, then the strongest typhoon to hit Metro Manila in seven years, cut across Luzon, causing a Luzon-wide blackout (the Philippines, for those not in the know, is divided into 3 islands, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, with Luzon being the central business district). When Super Typhoon Reming hit Bicol, thousands of houses got burried under volcanic debris (Mt. Mayon is in Bicol), killing thousands of people and animals.

… which brings us to today. Tropical Storm Ondoy’s (international name is Ketsana) death toll is pegged at 246, with hundreds still missing. Millions of Filipinos got affected, thousands of houses got damaged. Total cost of damage is reported to be over two billion pesos, and this is A LOT for our country.

Worse, the Filipinos havent yet recovered from the destruction caused by Ondoy when Super Typhoon Pepeng hit Northern Luzon. Death toll is at 269 (as reported in Manila Bulletin). As of writing, a lot of houses up North are still under water, meaning bodies could be there too. Landslides happened in Baguio, roads are at first, not passable, with only choppers to provide for their rescue needs.

But… and no matter what…

… the Philippines will recover. We will continue to be strong, to remain steadfast.

source: US Pacific Command

For this, we would like to thank the rest of the world for helping us go through this — to the US Pacific Command who helped save hundreds of Filipinos, who provided relief and delivered medical supplies and food to a lot of us, to the members of the Red Cross and the UN World Health Organization. To the United Nations, the US government, the Australian government, China, Germany, Japan, to all the kindhearted, beautiful people of all the other countries I have not mentioned here.

Thank you, heroes, for helping us as we recover.

** Photos from US Pacific Command caption:
1. SOUTH CHINA SEA (Oct. 6, 2009) – A Marine Corps CH-46 helicopter takes off from the forward-deployed amphibious dock landing ship USS Tortuga (LSD 46). Tortuga, USS Harpers Ferry and the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit are supporting humanitarian assistance operations at the request of the Republic of the Philippines in the wake of tropical storm Ketsana. Two Ch-46s such as this delivered 16,000 pounds of relief supplies to Talim Island on Oct. 6. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Geronimo Aquino/Released)
2. MANILA (Sept. 27, 2009) Medical personnel assigned to Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines assist a woman in labor during relief efforts after flooding destroyed homes in Manila. U.S. Navy Sailors delivered medical supplies, food, and rescued more than 52 people in Manila. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt.j.g. Theresa Donnelly/Released)

** This post is part of Blog Action Day 2009, where bloggers all over the world unite to inform the world of Climate Change.

Source: Climate Change Secretariat – DENR, Manila Bulletin, US Pacific Command

A Case Against LLDA?

I saw on the news that DENR Secretary Lito Atienza will be filing a case against Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) General Manager Edgar Manda — this, in relation to the damage the recent typhoons brought to the country. Uh-oh, need aircons, ceiling fans, everything cold cause it’s gonna be a hot court case, for sure.

Here’s a related press release from DENR:

Atienza orders LLDA to ban repair of ruined fishpens in Laguna Lake

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Lito Atienza today ordered the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) to impose a total ban on the repair or reconstruction of fishpens and other aqua structures ruined or submerged at the height of typhoon ‘Ondoy.’

This, even as Atienza expressed frustration over LLDA’s inability to take control of the lake after the DENR chief’s continued directives, thus receiving mere alibis for failure.

“I have personally instructed LLDA General Manager Edgar Manda to make sure that destroyed, including submerged fishpens, will not be allowed to be repaired or reconstructed by their operators and owners,” Atienza said, adding that Manda has committed to implement his order.

In a memorandum, Atienza directed Manda to impose a total ban on the reconstruction or repair of fishpens either ruined or submerged by typhoon ‘Ondoy.’

Atienza pointed out that nature herself has done the gargantuan work for us in liberating the lake of fishpens and fishcages, adding that it is now imperative for the LLDA to learn from typhoon Ondoy’s lessons.

“This is the best time, more than ever, to take advantage of what nature has initiated, reminding us of the consequences brought by abuse on the environment by some influential, powerful and wealthy individuals and groups. Failure to carry out the memorandum would constrain the Department to take administrative action,” Atienza stressed.

In the memorandum, Atienza also directed the lake agency to refrain from issuing new permits or renewal of permits for the construction of fishpens and fishcages.

In implementing the order, Atienza directed the agency officials that they can call on any DENR office, the police and the military for assistance.

According to Atienza, the unprecedented volume of rain that befell Metro Manila and neighboring provinces was caused by climate change. However, the massive flooding experienced was the result of man’s irresponsibility to allow garbage and illegal structures to block the country’s man-made and natural drainage systems.

At the same time, the DENR chief called on local government units to clear esteros within their areas of jurisdiction to improve water flow, especially during typhoons.

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