Reasons Why We Flood

Why we flood?

Environmental Planner, Arch. Armando Alli shares his insights on why we flood.

In his facebook post, the Architect mentioned two main reasons we why flood especially in Metro Manila.

Here is what he wrote:


Two (2) other key reasons as to why we flood i.e. aside from the Metro Manila Area (MMA) being a large floodplain, high tide situations seaside, excessive rainfall, denuded elevated areas at upland side, and our antiquated and clogged i.e. poorly maintained drainage systems are :


Too much paving around buildings/ dwellings prevent surface water percolation (water seeping into the soil to help recharge aquifers and in a way, the percolated water helps retard soil subsidence and saltwater intrusion); the very same over-paving does not retard surface water flow and instead accelerates the transfer of storm/ rain/ drainage water to clogged drainage systems and/or onto the heavily concreted roads that then act as large surface canals that bring such collected storm/rain/drain water to lower elevations at a very fast clip (resulting in flash-floods or even inundation, and therefore misery and extensive damage to properties and health/ well-being of the populace); and


There are limits on what can be built on a property and these have all been set in laws such as P.D. No. 1096 (the 1977 National Building Code of the Philippines/ NBCP), P.D. No. 957, B.P. Blg. 220, R.A. No. 7279.

LGU zoning ordinances (ZOs) and their respective regulation streams e.g. IRRs, guidelines, standards, procedural manuals, department administrative orders (DAOs), memorandum circulars (MCs), etc., and in a plethora of other recent executive issuances, including the 2015 DPWH Design Guidelines, Criteria & Standards (DGCS, particularly Volume 6 on Buildings and Other Related Structures), the 2015 DPWH PH Green Building Code (PGBC), the 2000 Architectural Code, etc.;

YET, both the private sector (particularly building designers) and the supposed regulators in Government think that most of these are mere suggestions (and since we are apparently a soft state, they expect no punishment for their act/ non-action relating to required compliances).

In the 2004 Revised IRR of the NBCP alone, percentage of site occupancy (PSO), setbacks, percentages of impervious surfaces (i.e. those that prevent water percolation), and the like have already all been set in great detail; yet, we see illegal construction such as firewalls, yard and road right-of-way (RROW) encroachments, lack of open spaces, illegally-reclaimed legal easements, etc., all with pavement, by the way, more as the rule rather than an exception, with the sole reason being that the regulators have NOT done their jobs (although of course, there are permitted exceptions in cases of extreme hardship of lot owners to comply, a matter also determined by the regulator).

Both the DPWH and its deputized LGU (local) building officials and the DILG and its LGU officials (including municipal/ city engineers who are unable to protect the mandated legal easements along waterways that have been illegally reclaimed, thus narrowing these drainage-ways), share a large part of the blame for the perennial flooding, especially at low-lying areas.

Over-building and over-paving have been regulated since mid-2005 when 2004 Revised IRR of P.D. No. 1096, the 1977 NBCP was promulgated by the DPWH i.e. the first time that the regulation of both physical planning (macro-micro) concerns and building design (micro) concerns have been integrated into a single rule book.

Unfortunately, its implementation and enforcement have been weak at a most critical period (2005 to date).

We are now reaping the results of that weakness over the nearly 1.5 decades when development and construction nationwide were already at an all-time high. Thanks.

——— side note —— end of the post

With that said, I think there is a lot of things we need to overhaul in our system here.

Assessment of Water User Fee For Improved Water Supply

Researchers from NwSSU conducts a survey of the possibility of coming up with a water user fee.

Its purpose is to improve the water supply in the Calbayog City.

This is possible through the protection of the Calbayog Pan-as Hayiban Protected Landscape (CPHPL).

The premise was there is occasional insufficient water supply in the city. According to the local residents, there is a low water supply early in the morning. If you are in an elevated area, water seldom is unavailable during peak hours from 5:30 am to 7 am.

Also, previous researchers show unsustainable farming practices like slash and burn farming in CPHPL.

Slash and burn and other land-use practices affect water supply.

Thus, conducting a survey for the protection of watershed areas is necessary. To do this it needs an approach called payment for the ecosystem or environmental services.

So, the team asked the lowland water users if they are willing to pay for sustainable water supply. Likewise, if farmers are willing to shift their farming practices to a sustainable one.

After six months, the team finished the valuation study in Calbayog City. This was through the funding of the DENR Region 8 and with the help of provincial ENR in Catbalogan.

The team conducted a random survey of 700 households from lowland water users. Meanwhile, about 300 upland farmers living in the watershed protected area.

For the lowland water users, there are only 412 who responded to the interview. Others were busy and they are not present in their houses during the field survey.

From the results, there are only a few people who knew about the main source of the raw water which is the CPHPL.

Some perceived that raw water is from Ton-ok falls.

Over half (56.3%) of the respondents perceived that it is from the water district.

A little over half (51.8%) of the lowland water users have an alternative water source.

These are from water vendors, deep wells, and a little 13 % are using rainwater harvesting facility.

The real question in the study is, “ are you willing to pay for an extra amount for the protection of the CPHPL?”

Only 46.6 % are willing to pay for this. 53.4% are not willing to pay.

One reason was that they cannot afford to pay any extra amount for what they are currently paying. A majority (81.9%) did not feel the effect of insufficient water supply.

Here is a summary of the willingness to pay vis-a-vis their awareness about the CPHPL. This tells us that if they are aware of the watershed, they are willing to pay for the protection.

water user fee for watershed protection



For upland farmers, there were 350 farmer respondents out of 2, 820 households (as of 2014 , CPHPL Manual).

The study shows that majority of them were willing to accept compensation for land use change. Their willingness to accept is due to shifting cultivation and slash and burn.

But, there are few lowland water users who are willing to pay for the watershed protection. Meanwhile, the majority of farmers are willing to accept this compensation. Thus, in this case, the possibility of payment for ecosystem services is not workable.

Yet, with the governments’ funds, watershed protection is still a good thing to pursue. But, this would also entail other water users will share the cost of protection (e.g. NIA, Electric Cooperatives and Water Districts).

Even so, the cost or value of watershed protection is as follows.

Please see table below.


These values are the people’s perception of the value of watershed. It appears that lowland water users have low perceived value over the upland water users.

This is because upland farmers got their daily living in watershed protected areas. But, lowland water users were not able to link watershed provisioning services (e. g. water) of CPHPL to themselves.

As such, there should be an environmental awareness campaign about the watershed.  Failure to do so will decrease the willingness to pay over not willing to pay for ecosystem services.

How about you?

Are you willing to pay for watershed protection for improved water supply?

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SAD Free Community: A fight against smoking, alcohol and drugs

Are you a victim of smoking, alcohol, and drugs in your community?

Do you want to live a healthy lifestyle?

Do you have a family member, relative suffering from the effects of smoking, alcoholism and drug abuse?

This is your chance to be part of our advocacy in the future.

For the first time in the City of Calbayog, a group of health advocates encourages people to a SAD free community.

According to the lead campaign organizer, this is a historic event because no other group has been doing this in the city.


Its been a while since I have not participated in a cause-oriented event. This time I just joined a Walk for a Cause organized by Adventist Hospital Calbayog. The advocacy is to have a SAD free community.

Despite the bad weather, there are still people with an unwavering faith who joined the activity. It was participated by young, old and children alike who share a common goal to a SAD Free Community.

What is SAD Free Community?

S is for Smoking

We all know that smoking kills! So, smoking is one of the habits that should be eliminated in the lifestyle of a person.

There are several health effects that a person may acquire from smoking. For example, coronary heart disease by 2 to 4 times,  stroke by 2 to 4 times, of men developing lung cancer by 25 times.

Smoking Can Damage Every Part of the Body.
Learn more about smoking effects here.

A is for Alcohol

Alcohol has many effects on our body. I don’t need to name it here one by one. Just read the 23 effects of alcohol in our body here.

Or learn the various effects of alcohol to your body by looking to

an infographic from the team at Addiction Blog

Adverse effects of alcohol (INFOGRAPHIC)Adverse effects of alcohol (INFOGRAPHIC)
D is for Drugs

Dangerous drugs are a no-no. But why are still many people are addicted to it? It not just causes mental health problems but also relationship problems.

Why SAD free community?

Many are struggling to quit smoking, and others have suffered from alcohol and drug abuse. The Adventist Hospital Calbayog being a prime promoter of good health through God’s healing hands encourages people to stop these unhealthful habits.

The AHC brings good news to the people through walking 7 kilometers from the hospital and around the city to spread the deadly effects of SAD to the people and making a change. It does not matter if it rains or shines.

As long as there are people willing to accept the invitation to eliminate SAD in their life, it’s already an accomplished mission.

Information about SAD FREE community effect is given through printouts and pamphlets.

Look even at a very young age, this child participates in the walk for a cause for a SAD free community wearing a raincoat.


How to participate in the SAD free community advocacy?

  1.  Simply visit their facebook page.
  2. Promote SAD free lifestyle.
  3. Join the Walk for a Cause for SAD Free Community

It’s that simple.

Join our SAD free community outreach program.

A message from the campaign organizer.

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. 3 John 1:2,NIV

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Condom distribution in schools: Yes or No?

Are you in favor of condom distribution in schools?

Yes, condom distribution will start this year 2017 by Department of Health (DOH). I purposefully had this poll to know what are the views of the people (i.e. parents and the youth) about this matter.

Why should condom distribution be implemented?

In my own assessment, the case of HIV-AIDS in the Philippines is increasing. Report shows that from January 1984- March 2016, there is 32,647 reported cases in which 1,675 already are reported dead (DOH, Epidemiology Bureau, March 2016).

With this data alone, it is alarming since AIDS can be transmitted easily through sexual contact, injecting drugs using syringe and blood transfusion.

Do you know?

In March 2016, 204 (28%) cases were among youth aged 15-24 years. Most (96%) were male. Ninety-nine percent (203) were infected through sexual contact (17 male-female sex, 110 male-male sex, 76 sex with both males & females) and 1 (<1%) through needle sharing among IDU.

From January 1984–March 2016, 8,738 (27%) of the reported cases were 15-24 years old. Eighty-six percent (7,525) of all the youth were reported from 2011 to 2016 (DOH, Epidemiology Bureau, March 2016).

In my opinion, condom distribution is a good strategy to prevent HIV/ AIDS from spreading to other person, but we know the other side effects (talking about the morality of the person).

Although it is not the intention of DOH to encourage young people to engage into sexual acts, but it creates curiosity to the youth especially without proper guidance.

But don’t worry, there will be counseling first before this action will be implemented.

But before the distribution, there will be counseling so we can prepare the schools, teachers and the students,” Ubial added. (Read the complete article at

Now, having read a little piece of information about the status of HIV/AIDS in the Philippines.

What is your opinion about condom distribution in schools?

If you are in favor or not about this strategy to help at least minimize and avoid having infected with AIDS, please vote.

Image courtesy of ratch0013 at

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Your vote will make a difference to the one reading this.


If you have something to say, please leave a comment below.