THE Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) called on private sectors to lend their heavy equipments to the agency on its continuing massive clean-up drive in various drainages in Metro Manila.

“May kakulangan talaga tayo sa mga kagamitan lalo na sa mga dredging equipment kaya nananawagan ako sa private sector na ipagamit ang kanilang mga dredging equipment,” said MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino.

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“Kahit sa loob lang ng sampung araw. Di po namin kaya ito mag-isa at kailangan talaga namin ng tulong ng bawat isa,” he added.

To encourage businessmen to assist the agency, Tolentino is proposing a “borrow now, pay later” scheme for the surplus equipment, citing that the MMDA would take care of operating expenses while the equipment is being used.

Tolentino said they would also ask the local government units, especially in flood-prone areas of Metro Manila, to give these establishments “tax break” if they help the flood control drive.

The MMDA chief said the need for dredging equipments is acute considering that more than 55,000 lineal meters of waterways in Metro Manila are needed to be dredged.

So far, the MMDA was able to clean only 25,600 lineal meters.

“Kailangan talaga nating malinis ito para di tayo bahain lalo na pag malakas ang buhos ng ulan,” he added.

The MMDA also urged the private sector to do their share by maintaining cleanliness in their own frontages and observing proper waste disposal.

Earlier, the MMDA admits that its pumping stations are only working at 70 percent capacity due to the unrestrained dumping of waste despite effort to collect the garbage in drainages.

The problem is made much more difficult by the presence of informal settlers who have erected their shanties near waterways thereby blocking the normal flow of water.

The MMDA Flood Control and Management Office (FCMO) said there are 70,000 people living along the waterways alone while the overall number of informal settlers continues to grow in Metro Manila, with at least 517,175 families identified in 13 LGUs for the past year.

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Meanwhile, the MMDA chief wanted ordinary people’s participation in December’s Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).

“Magsasama po tayo ng isang judge na guro, estudyante, bus driver at housewife para maging People’s Festival ito, para talagang People’s Choice ang lalabas na mananalo,” Tolentino said.

Traditionally, the board of jurors consisted of noted film critics, directors, writers and personalities in the arts and culture.

“Layunin natin dito na mapulsuhan talaga ang pangkaraniwang mamamayan na nakakadama ng tunay na pangyayari sa kapaligiran at ordinaryong buhay na isinasalin sa pelikula,” he added.

As MMDA Chairman, Tolentino also chaired the MMFF. Designated as Vice Chairman was Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, while Jessie Ejercito would serve as Executive Vice Chairman.(AH/Sunnex)