MANILA, AUGUST 11, 2012 (STANDARD) By Joyce Pangco Panares - President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday bared two long-term solutions to address the perennial flooding problem in Metro Manila: a P2.2 billion dike along the Meycauayan River to ease the inundation of Malabon, Valenzuela, Navotas and Bulacan, and the construction of retarding basins and embankments along Marikina River.

Mr. Aquino said the eight-kilometer dike will take two to three years to build during his inspection of an evacuation site in Valenzuela City.

“It will surround Meycauayan River and will have a pumping station. This way, the low-lying areas which are below sea level [will no longer be inundated],” the President said.

“Again, there are no instant solutions. This is not like instant noodles, but what I can promise you is that before I step down, you will feel the difference with all the infrastructure and flood control projects we are undertaking.”

Mr. Aquino made his statement even as he warned a pharmaceutical firm against taking advantage of people after reports said it had increased the price of a certain medicine by 750 percent.

“What this company is doing is inhumane and un-Filipino,” Mr. Aquino said but did not name the company.

During his earlier visit to the Nangka Elementary School that has been converted into an evacuation site, the President said there was a need to “retard” the water coming from the upstream portion of the Marikina River.

“We need to retard some 5,000 cubic meters of water from the upstream,” he said.

“How massive is that? One truck of water is about 5 cubic meters, so that is 1,000 trucks of water. “But I would beg for your indulgence, [for] it will take years to build this kind of embankment.”

Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson said the embarkment would slow down the water coming from the tributaries to the Marikina River.

He said at least 90 percent of the water flowing through Marikina River was coming from the tributaries.

Meanwhile, for the second time in as many days, President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday brought with him at least three possible senatorial bets of the Liberal Party for the 2013 polls as he went around Metro Manila to check on several evacuation sites and to distribute relief to the residents displaced by the flooding brought about by the southwest monsoon.

Mr. Aquino visited evacuation sites in the cities of Marikina, Quezon, Caloocan, Malabon and Valenzuela with former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros, Aurora Rep. Sonny Angara, and

Technical Education and Skills Development Authority director general Joel Villanueva.

The three possible senatorial candidates of the administration party were also present when Mr. Aquino distributed relief in Muntinlupa City on Wednesday.

In the President’s first engagement in Marikina on Thursday, the city’s representative, Miro Quimbo, announced as he was introducing Angara: “Sonny, show your face here because all the people here are pro-impeachment.”

Angara and Quimbo were members of the prosecution team that ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona.

In Malabon, Mr. Aquino said he brought Villanueva with him because TESDA was in charge of providing education and livelihood training vouchers. He said Angara’s presence was to ensure that the 2013 proposed General Appropriations Act was passed on time.

In Valenzuela, his last stop on Thursday, the President described Villanueva, Angara and Hontiveros as “people who help us.” In particular, Mr. Aquino again praised Angara for his presence.

“Sonny is here because it is budget time in Congress,” the President said.

“If we suggest that we need certain projects to be authorized, I believe Sonny will take the lead in promoting everybody’s interest so we do not have to content with this annual season of massive flooding.”

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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