Group blames government for massive flooding-A A +A
Thursday, August 9, 2012
MABALACAT CITY -- An environmentalist group, Save the Trees Coalition, has blamed the government, particularly the Public Works and Environment departments, for the massive flooding in several parts of Pampanga and Angeles City.
Cecile Yumul, convenor and spokesperson of Save the Trees Coalition, said the absence of big and full grown trees is causing floodwaters to stagnate along the national highway.
The denudation of forests and mountains also aggravate flooding in low-lying areas including several towns including Candaba, Santo Tomas, Minalin, Apalit, San Simon, Macabebe, Masantol, City of San Fernando, Sasmuan, Guagua, Lubao, which become catch basins of floodwaters during heavy rains.
Yumul said the Matuwid na Daan program of President Aquino is killing all big trees in the name of progress, from the mountain tops to the highways.
“Their excuse is that always it will bring economic progress. Instead, in one sweep, it brought devastation to the country,” Yumul said.
In 2009, she added that the group warned the local government units in Pampanga, including the City of San Fernando, that the cutting of trees along the highway will cause massive flooding.
The Department of Public Works and Highways cut several trees along the MacArthur Highway to give way for the expansion of the road.
“Ing malilyaring a ini, apin ing scenario a sasabyan mi wayback in 2009,” Yumul said.
The Save the Trees Coalition expressed strong opposition to the explanation of the Department of Public Works and Highways and Department of Environment and Natural Resources that big trees are destroying the pavement of the highway.
“Sabi da reng keng DPWH ampon DENR e’ nala kailangan ning siyudad reng mangaragul a tanaman,” Yumul said.
In 2009, the Save the Trees coalition started the campaign to stop the killing of the trees along the highway.
The group expressed the following arguments as valid points to consider:
1. Pampanga is a catch basin. All tributaries from up north flow down to Pampanga delta. Practical, and common sense, therefore means no manmade canals will be big enough to absorb rainwater when it comes pummeling us for days. Only the big deep rooted trees will bring the water down under the soil.
2. The long history of floodings in Pampanga destroyed the infrastructures in one sweep; only the trees remained. Therefore after the big floods of 1972, they augmented the trees along MacArthur Highway and all roads in Pampanga.
3. If this natural solution the Marcos government, at that time found doable, will be destroyed in favor of inutile manmade canals, the pandemic cycle will happen in clock-time precision from 35 to 40 years which is in (2009).
4. No canals will also work along the MacArthur highway because of the ground level from Angeles to San Fernando. Those who took up civil engineering (in Angeles colleges) under their subject, Surveying and Instruments know that the ground level of Santo Rosario Street is the tip of the San Fernando Cathedral.
5. To murder the trees along the Manila North Road is tantamount to annihilating the population of the San Fernando and outlying barangays.
6. They cannot murder the trees because they dissipate the rainwater by 70 percent before it reaches the ground. Given the circumstances of continuing rain, it is buying time for the 30 percent rainwater to flow and or get absorb underneath the soil which will slow down inevitable flooding to minimal devastating impact.
7. The trees are not obstructions to progress. They, in fact, reflect the presence of a highly civilized populace, knowing the balance of development vis-à-vis with progress. Absence of big trees simply means lack or even absence of a civilized society.
8. With the mushrooming of subdivisions and several schools along the Manila North Road, only these big trees will serve as buffers and warnings to first time travelers along this highway, that they have to slow down a bit because there are thousands of minors in peril if they drive too fast without caution.
9. Only the presence of these trees, at no added cost to real estate developers and building owners and hospital owners, can bring added value of about 10 to 15 percent to their properties. Not to belittle added health benefits derived by the presence of these trees.
Yumul said DENR and DPWH experts did not listen instead murdered all the trees lying along the path of their “matuwid na daan.”
“In clock-time precision, the great floods of August 1972 came down to us this August 2012, exactly 40 years later,” she said.
“The question remains: if they did not massacre the trees along the stretch of manila north road, would the floods have been as devastating?”
According to her, there are no sign of floodings in areas where trees remained.
“If there was a rise in water level, in 15 minutes time water is gone seeping through the ground and there to remain until the need for water when the dry season comes,” Yumul said.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on August 10, 2012.