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“It’s now or never for Laguna Lake”-Palafox

MANILA, July 29 — An architect and also an urban planner said on Thursday that Metro Manila could have foregone the horror that typhoon Ondoy brought to residents of Metropolis and if only the previous administration has moved to construct the Paranaque spillway.

According to architect Felino Palafox Jr., founder and managing director of Palafox and Associates, he pointed out that as early as 1977 or 33 years ago, a plan to build the said spillway to flush out water coming from the Laguna Lake towards Manila Bay was in place.

But for no apparent reason, the spillway project has been negated and the feared flooding that has been projected three decades ago by experts was realized during the Ondoy thing.

“The estimate last 1973 to prevent flooding in Metro Manila is to build the Paranaque spillway but it was not realized. The estimate of flooding in the year 1977 happened during the Ondoy flooding,” Palafox said during a press conference held in Makati City.

He said during typhoon Ondoy the lake grew by as much as 50,000 hectares from the regular 90,000 hectares during rainy season.

This is more than double the total land area of Metro Manila which is 63,000 hectares.

To prevent flooding and ensure an adequate water supply for Metro Manila and at the same time make room for lakeshore development just like the Singapore River waterfront, Dubai creekfront, Chicago along Lake Michigan, Geneva along Geneva Lake, Paris along River Seine, London along Thames River and other urban waterfront models, the Laguna Lake should be tapped.

Palafox said that with the lake strategic location, enormous water-holding capacity and the diversity of its natural resources, it should serve as a nourishing mother, providing food and water to residents of Metro Manila and five nearby provinces in the Calabarzon region.

With the rapid development and the increasing population within the lake region the lake must be rehabilitated before its too late, Palafox said.

“Laguna Lake has a big potential to become a front door of development. But lakeside communities and industries transformed it into a backdoor wastebasket.”

The plan for the lake is to dredge it to improve its capacity and the quality of water for public consumption and increase its depth to enable it to hold more floodwater during the rainy season.

“The lake is huge. We could actually construct ferry stations in various locations so residents can have an alternative mode of transport,” Palafox said referring to the lake that has a surface area of 900 square kilometers.

Laguna Lake, the largest fresh water lake in the Philippines, has a surface area of 90,000 hectares or 115,000 hectares when it overflows.

It can hold up to 2.25 trillion cubic meters of water, which is more than enough to supply potable water to Metro Manila and nearby places.

But Palafox reiterated that the spillway should be constructed and the lake’s 250-kilometers should have a dike to accommodate the water and have an ecopark in its environs.(PNA) LOR/CLTC

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