Mayors designate metro chief as flood control czar
by Rio N. Araja of Manila Standard:
METRO mayors on Tuesday named Chairman Francis Tolentino as the new anti-flood czar in the National Capital Region for a more cohesive flood control program.
The local officials, in a closed-door meeting, unanimously agreed to designate Tolentino as overseer of the metro’s flood mitigation measures, outlay, and maintenance of facilities.
“Chairman Tolentino is the new flood control czar. He should be in charge of all flood control programs of 16 cities and one municipality in Metro Manila,” Valenzuela City Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian told reporters.
As metro flood control czar, Tolentino will have at his disposal billions of pesos in funding for the flood control measures.
Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista initiated the emergency meeting of mayors, and officials of MMDA, the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority, Department of Public Works and Highways, Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, National Housing Authority, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, and Department of Science and Technology.
Mayors Aldrin San Pedro of Muntinlupa City, Alfredo Lim of Manila, Vergel Aguilar of Las Pinas City, Florencio Bernabe Jr. of Paranaque City, Antonio Calixto of Pasay City, Canuto Oreta of Malabon City, Jejomar Binay Jr. of Makati City, and Enrico Echiverri of Caloocan City also attended the meeting.
“We need a more cohesive plan to solve floods, and this can only be done if there is only one person to lead it, and us giving our full support,” Bautista said.
Some mayors slammed the DoST for its alleged failure to inform local governments of the amount of rainfall expected to fall on the metro at the height of storm “Falcon.”
Bautista expressed disappointment when Undersecretary Graciano Yumul Jr. failed to prepare and put on a power point presentation of Pagasa’s flood and rain forecasting.
“What’s the use of Pagasa being here if it has no presentation?” he asked.
Gatchalian blamed the weather bureau for Valenzuela’s delayed evacuation of about 800 families during last week’s storm.
“There should be a revamp on how you [Pagasa] throw information to the local government units. You never told us how much the amount of rains is expected,” he said.
Yumul, however, said the bureau under DoST has never been remiss in its duty to provide the public and government with an hourly forecast and a five-day synopsis of weather condition. “
There’s a folder in our website as well as our Twitter and Facebook accounts that tells all the information,” he told Gatchalian. Yumul said the LGUs, not Pagasa, were responsible in finding out how much the information.