By BEN R. ROSARIO
Manila, Philippines – The cancellation of foreign-funded flood control projects in Central and Southern Luzon has been blamed as one of the reasons for the devastating floods caused by typhoons “Pedring” and “Quiel.”
House Senior Deputy Minority Leader Danilo E. Suarez said the House of Representatives should investigate the circumstances and reasons behind the cancellation of the projects that were approved by the Arroyo administration.
Budgetary cuts imposed by the Aquino government for flood control projects for Metro Manila may also be included in the probe, the opposition lawmaker said.
“One cannot help but think that if these projects were not capriciously cancelled on the sole fact that they were initiated by the previous administration, then the recent floodings could have been prevented or mitigated,” Suarez said in filing House Resolution (HR) No. 1793.
The floods triggered by the two typhoons killed several people and rendered thousands of families homeless in Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, and some parts of Regoin 1 (Ilocos). Billions of pesos in crops and infrastructure were also damaged.
In filing the resolution, Suarez cited a press release issued by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) that quoted Secretary Rogelio Singson as having decided to cancel 19 contracts for projects that were approved by the Arroyo government under the post-“Ondoy” and “Pepeng” Short-Term Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project.
According to Suarez, the 19 projects worth P934.1 million were to be funded by a Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) loan for the rehabilitation of the country’s flood control facilities.
“It should be emphasized that these cancelled projects were located in provinces that were severely inundated by typhoons Pedring and Quiel,” Suarez said.