Tuesday, September 29, 2009

MMDA chief on floods: Blame me


MANILA - Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Bayani Fernando on Monday shouldered the blame for the massive flooding that hit the National Capital Region over the weekend but said he will not resign from his post.

In an interview, Fernando said the responsibility of enhancing Metro Manila's flood control system falls on his shoulders as MMDA chief. "Blame it on me kaysa sisihin pa natin ang Diyos. It's up to them what they want to do with me but I will not resign as MMDA chairman," he told ABS-CBN.

The MMDA chief said government officials in areas affected by the floods should also take part of the blame since they did not ensure the safety of their constituents. He said the increase in infrastructure in every city takes a toll on the environment.

Fernando, who is mulling a possible presidential bid next year, said last Saturday's massive flood could happen again if no solution is found. "It's a 100-year cycle. It will keep repeating itself unless someone with political will will lead the country," he said.

The National Disaster Coordinating Council earlier said at least seven people in Metro Manila have died due to floods brought on by tropical storm Ondoy last Saturday.

On Monday, Marikina Mayor Marides Fernando appealed for more food, water and blankets for residents staying in evacuation centers. She also appealed for more volunteers to help in the task of clearing the roads of debris and retrieving bodies in various parts of the city.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque visited Malanday Elementary School in the city, which has served as a makeshift evacuation center for 100 families. Duque said the department will provide medicine and vaccines to many of the evacuees who are experiencing cough, colds, flu and stomach ache.

Senior Superintendent Robert Po of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group also confirmed that oil from Noah's Paper Mills near SM Marikina is seeping from the firm's storage tank and into the Marikina River.

Po said the oil pipe connected to the 65,000-liter storage tank and into the plant was either ruptured or disconnected after floodwaters moved the tank slightly from its cement base. He said bunker oil then spilled from the plant to SM Marikina and into the river.

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