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JICA, DPWH unveil Phl 100-year flood control strategy and safety

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The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) launched a new technical cooperation project to update the flood control strategy for some major river basins in the Philippines as flood disasters become more frequent and severe due to climate change. 

JICA Chief Representative SAKAMOTO Takema and DPWH Secretary Manuel M. Bonoan signed on January 17, 2024, the Record of Discussions for the Project for Enhancement of Flood Control Strategy in Prioritized River Basins. 

This new cooperation will update the master plans and pre-feasibility studies for flood control in Pasig-Marikina and Cagayan Rivers. The updated master plans, according to JICA, will be a “guidepost toward the achievement of 100-year flood safety even with climate change impact.” Throughout the project, JICA and DPWH will also hold basin-wide stakeholder consultations to gather feedback and lessons. 

“JICA’s approach to disaster resiliency has been tested many times. Our emphasis on disaster preparedness has worked in Japan. More importantly, we have observed that disaster preparedness can save lives and reduce economic losses even in other disaster-prone countries like the Philippines,” said JICA Chief SAKAMOTO. “This cooperation is vital especially in times of large-scale flood disasters and emergencies. It also proves why coordination and planning are needed,” SAKAMOTO added. 

JICA and DPWH have been working together to improve flood control infrastructure throughout the river basins. Rapid growth and recent typhoon disasters in the Philippines have led officials to come up with a national strategy to manage flood risks. 

JICA noted that with the right investment in flood control infrastructure, activities, and strategic approach, the Philippines could minimize the number of affected residents and economic losses during flood disasters. 

JICA Simulation Report on Typhoon Ulysses.

A simulation of the JICA study team based on Typhoon Ulysses data in 2020 showed that the close and serious endeavors for the river improvement under the JICA-DPWH cooperation since the 1970s reduced the impact of floods significantly in Manila. From estimated economic losses of $1.3 billion without the project, the losses have now gone to $0.2 billion. Through this cooperation, the number of residents affected by floods from Pasig-Marikina River had been reduced to 30,000, from the previous 1 million people. 

Over time, the JICA-DPWH cooperation proved that flood control requires a multi-faceted approach, consisting of the development of well-integrated masterplans, appropriate and timely investments, and capacity development.

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