CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- “The advocacy of the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (PamCham) for the decongestion of Metro Manila, to enhance disaster resilience and mitigation, not to mention equitable regional growth, is undoubtedly commendable. It demonstrates a clear understanding of the requisites of sustainable and inclusive development by proposing a model growth that is both resilient and dispersed.”
Thus stressed Pampanga Third District Representative Oscar Rodriguez as he sponsored and filed recently before the House of Representatives House Resolution 2110, known as “A Resolution Calling for the Serious and Comprehensive Study of the Proposal to Decongest Metro Manila, both as a Disaster Mitigation Strategy, and as a Strategy to Enhance the Equitable Distribution of Development and Inclusive Growth to All Other Regions.”
In the resolution, Rodriguez noted that “according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philvolcs) and the Japan Cooperation Agency (JICA), a magnitude 7.2 earthquake in Metro Manila and some areas in the Province of Rizal can result in approximately 37,000 deaths, 132,000 serious injuries, 11 million square meters of land area severely damaged, and P2.5-trillion in estimated economic loses.”
Rodriguez added that the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) and the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) said “there is significant and alarming ground subsidence in several areas in Metro Manila, caused primarily by excessive groundwater withdrawal, thus intensifying the threat of weather-related disasters.”
The lawmaker also pointed out the National Economic Development Authority and JICA findings that traffic congestion in Metro Manila costs P2.4 billion per day, which can escalate to P6 billion per day, if not addressed.
“Metro Manila is host, not only to vital public offices, but also key private sector institutions that are pillars of the national economy. The relocation of vital public offices, including, but not only those fundamental to disaster response, can strengthen the national disaster mitigation and response strategy. The multiplication of private sector centers outside of Metro Manila can prevent financial dislocation, if and when massive disaster strikes Metro Manila,” Rodriguez said.
He added that more public investments outside of Metro Manila, and the establishment of a better enabling environment for the private sector outside of Metro Manila may lead to more equitable economic development across all regions, resulting to more employment and livelihood opportunities which fosters inclusive growth.
“It is my hope that through this House Resolution, and with the support of PamCham and other stakeholders and advocates, the discourse on the matter [of decongesting Metro Manila] will be enriched, for the benefit of our country,” concluded Rodriguez. (JTD/Sun.Star Pampanga)