What Must Be Done to Prevent Another Ulysses, Ondoy?

Marikina Mayor pushes 'whole of government' approach.
Photo/s: Ted Aljibe, Agence France-Presse

A whole of government approach, mindful of climate change, is needed to address future storms, said Mayor Marcy Teodoro of Marikina, the city that bore the brunt of severe flooding in the capital from Typhoon Ulysses (Vamco).

Existing disaster response laws must be properly implemented and the effects of environmental degradation, must be addressed, he told ANC. 

"Multifaceted 'to from our experience. We are not a stand-alone community that could improve our area, but other areas still lacking in so many things," he said.


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Floods due to Ulysses drew comparisons to the deluge wrought by Typhoon Ondoy in 2009. Since then Marikina has adjusted its disaster response. However, it can only dredge and clean the 11-kilometer portion of the Marikina River that runs through the city.

"The ecosystem is badly damaged, I think, the proper ecology is not present at this time," he said. Most of Marikina's river discharge is overwhelming Manila Bay instead of being diverted towards Laguna De Bay, which is also heavily silted.

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"Our call really is for an integrated approach, a whole-of-government approach so that we could effectively collaborate and address the problems brought about by climate change," he said,

Teodoro, who was a congressman when Typhoon Ondoy inundated Marikina, pushed for the establishment of the National Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Council.

"We should put climate change at the forefront of our governance," Teodoro said.

When asked about the possibe declaration of a national climate emergency in the country after the Philippines was battered by three typhoons in as many weeks, the mayor said "Yes, I agree with that. There is an emergency."


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Weather forecasts must be improved and those living in riverside communities must receive timely alerts.

"Proper implementation of these existing laws and utilization of the existing institutional framework will address [the problem]. If we create another task force, I think it will divert or simply put away the obligation mandated to the particular agency concerned. Let's optimize the capacity of the existing agency," he said.

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Teodoro said the establishment of a new agency for disaster response would be interim and transitory, but the effects of climate change are fixed and permanent. A solution will have to be on a long-term basis.

"Everything we need, I think, are already present in our system. We simply need to move things in a synchronized, coordinated, concerted manner," he added.

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