News: Mayor cites some ‘hard lessons’ for Marikina


Mayor cites some ‘hard lessons’ for Marikina

By DJ Yap
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:12:00 10/08/2009

As the struggle goes on to restore normalcy in flood-devastated Marikina City, Mayor Marides Fernando has learned some “hard lessons.”

Lesson No. 1: No more excuses and favors for riverside squatters living in danger zones.

“This time around we’ll be very strict. I think now people have no reason to resist when we ask them to move out of these hazard areas,” she told the Inquirer on Tuesday.

Lesson No. 2: There should be a minimum height standard for the construction of residential and commercial buildings, depending on how elevated the place is.

This, Fernando said, would help prevent cases of people drowning inside their homes.

Lesson No. 3: Policies against illegal parking will be more firmly observed.

“Even just one car blocking the road can impede rescue workers from reaching their destination,” she said.

Lesson No. 4: More rubber boats and rescue equipment should be in stock for emergency situations.

“The rescuers had to scramble for equipment so we need more of these prepared,” Fernando said.


My Comments:

There are still squatters in Marikina. However, these people are accounted for and some have been given titles to their lands. Like in Barangay Tumana. If I remember it right, while BF was mayor of Marikina, he distributed the lands to those living in squatter area tumana. Then during the reign of his wife, now mayor Marides Fernando (MCF), squatter Tumana was transformed into a Barangay. 

Though the location is risky during heavy rains as it is beside the river – and if you will check the map, I think its still part of the banks of the river – you can’t just relocate and strip off the map of the City one Barangay. Maybe what they can do, and to similar areas too, is to provide a better flood canal and make the houses higher. Plus, include early warning systems so that people can evacuate immediately during floods.

You see, its not only squatters or those living near the river who has flooding problems. Our subdivision is prone to flooding even during light rains.

Policies on proper parking is strictly followed in Marikina. You will seldom see any improperly parked vehicles for the Road and Traffic safety unit of the City is constantly going around. Plus, there are Barangay Tanods and other deputized traffic officers on key streets and establishments.

Rescuers had a hard time going to different areas because vehicles were swept by raging flood waters. They were swept away from their original position. I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures.

Marikina City is a big DANGER ZONE. Its prone to flooding. Its a valley. It is situated between two mountains. What it needs is a proper flood control system. And the existing ones has been proven to be not enough to handle flood waters from Rizal, Laguna, and other areas. We also need more rescue equipment. The City only have 6 rubber boats. But how many Barangay are there in Marikina?

I say two rubber boats per Barangay. More should be given for flood prone areas like Barangay Tumana and Fortune.

Isn’t Baguio already a high place, but have you seen the news? It got flooded. That, plus the regular landslides.


8 thoughts on “News: Mayor cites some ‘hard lessons’ for Marikina

  1. Personally, much also has to be said about the blatant littering and garbage throwing of people (especially squatters living beside rivers).

    Not to mention excavations done by utility corporations (such as Manila Water, et al.) who do construction work and ignore proper procedure. Most of them never clean up after months of digging and in the course of their operation block sewerages and water passages with excess cement.

    A stiffer form of punishment should be enforced…

  2. Chuck,

    In fairness to the like of Manila water in Marikina, they do clean up their mess after their work. Its a part of the procedure and city hall would always check on their work.

    Marikina has a great garbage collection system. I’m proud to say that most Marikenyos are follow garbage policies.

    When we first transferred to marikina, konting ulan lang babaha na sa street namin. and it would take 3 days bago mawala ang baha. Now , it only takes hours before the flood waters recedes. In fairness, may improvement naman.

  3. Migs,

    Yeah… I see where you’re coming from… and though I am not from Marikina nor have ever tried living there, I have indeed heard how disciplined Marikenyos are. I also have friends who live in Marikina.

    Just as you speak out of experience, so am I. Here in Mandaluyong, things are pretty frustrating when it comes to discipline and obedience…

    Hukay dito, hukay doon… ang bilis sa hukay. Lubak kung saan-saan pero pag tapos na sa hukay, somehow they always assume na ang local government ang responsible to patch road back up. And vice-versa.

    It’s even happened right in front of our street… and you can see how the cement flows straight to the drainages and dry up… pag-nagreklamo ka naman, pasahan ng sisi.

    I guess it’s really a case of NOT truly enforcing the law and lack of communication as well as how determined respective local governments are in toeing the line. 🙂

    You wouldn’t happen to have a Google Wave invite you could send my way, would you? 😛

  4. Hi Migz,

    I am also from Marikina and one of the victim of the recent flood. I can’t believe Marikina only have 6 rubber boats considering the wide area prone to flooding. No wonder the response is really slow.

    I agree to you 100% why Mayors BF and Marides put those informal settlers in the riverbanks knowing it is really dangerous. Starting in Tumana, it is supposedly a private land that won supreme court decision against the Marikina government and now it is a Barangay. (???) Then go up at the back of Twinville Subdivision which is supposedly Marikina river bed but BF transferred those from Katipunan squatters and called it Bagong Sibol. Continue up you got Balubad resettlement area which is also beside the marikina river. These are heavily populated areas and located in the danger zones. Now don’t be surprised on the number of casualties.

    I am actually a proud Marikenyo but if they will not really contemplate on these problem of squatting, flood control and disaster preparedness will revert back whatever gain Marikina had achieved in the past 10 to 20 years.

    I hope Mayor Marides, other Marikina officials and we Marikenyos really learned from this tragedy and start thinking deep to prevent loss of life and properties in the future.



  5. Hi Adrian,

    I hope you and your family are ok now.

    Well, ganun naman talaga ang government, they will dump people in places na parang wala ng silbi sa kanila. That’s why even if danger zones yun, well… its a nice area pag hindi umuulan.

    Marami pa naman bakanteng lots ang marikina. pero hindi pwede dun.. kasi for business purposes

    But i still push for a flood control and warning system.

  6. well, i hope the present administration will now learn what to prioritize. especially with the budget. they spend so much on so many unnecessary things and yet they overlook what is really needed.

  7. Hi Migs,

    I grew up in Marikina and I remember when Concepcion Uno was a big farmland before…they used to catch frogs and snails for food, that is where I learned to eat frog legs, a delicacy at that time, when around Concepcion were farms and rice paddies. My grandparents house were constructed on wooden post of at least 8 feet from the ground and they did not have basement. I saw flooding in Marikina at that time and my grandparents’ house was protected from water because of elevated construction from the ground. My grandparents house is located between J.P. Rizal and Daang Bakal, closed to Bayan-bayanan Avenue. Marikina River had clean water at that time, we used to catch fresh water shrimps and crabs for food. The Tumana and river bank areas were farmland where farmers grew vegetables. I swam in that river when I was a child because the water was so clear that you can literaly see the shrimps and the crabs swimming in the water. That was in the 60s. But then in the 80s and into the 90s, construction builders started developing lands around the areas of Concepcion 1, heading towards Malanday to the south and to Nangka to the north. When the water in the Marikina River started to recede slowly, barren areas of the Tumana were taken by illegal settlers to squat their illegal homes. People forgot that the tumana was a part of the River itself, it just happened that the water in the river had receded in time. Hence, dense population of settlers claimed the lands as they build their houses and living quarters. And mind you, seeing those areas when I went to visit in 2006, I realized how Marikina had changed into a very populous city and a city that lacks proper zoning of the areas, and probably lacks the proper sewage and drainage systems in the whole city. If all of Marikina got flooded now, that is due to the lack of proper drainage systems and non-maintenance of sewage systems. It happened once, it will happen again. And this time, if all residents of Marikina do not do something about it, the cost of disaster might be bigger on the second time.

    My suggestion to the Marikina government right now to avoid further flooding disaster is that they must remove all the settlers in the river banks areas for at least 1 kilometer away from the river. The government must dig the river to make it deeper in depth and clean it up so that water can flow freely within the depth of the river, thus preventing too much overflows on the riverbanks and the adjoining Barangay vicinities.

    Mind you, I have a house at Marikina Greenheights and the water had reached my property up to 10 feet in height. I have seen worse typhoons and earthquake in my time when I was a child, nonetheless, 45 days of non-stop raining in the 60s. Rain water flowed to the Marikina River and the flooding then was not a disastrous one as this year’s event. But then, Marikina River was deep, and clean from too much dirt, debris and waste. I would even see the beautiful sunrise from one of the bedrooms of my grandparents house looking towards the mountains. But when I went to visit in 2006, I can hardly see a blue sky because of the smog covering the entire Metro Manila area, smog that settled on the Sierra Madre mountains.

    I feel pity for all my brothers and relatives who still live in Marikina for the sight that I saw in 2006. I feel pity to all residents of Marikina who live there now who did not see what Marikina was when I was growing up as a child. It was a province with pure air, a green valley surrounded by green mountains on each side, and a beautiful, dark blue sky at night with stars twinkling above the valley.

    For me, those were wonderful memories of my childhood, and I always feel nostalgic remembering how beautiful Marikina was at that time.

    • Hi Mr. Vi

      I’m a college student in Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Marikina. I read your comment on this article. I noticed that you, Sir have a wide knowledge on the history of Marikina and found out that this knowledge will be of great help for our research paper. Our problem is Squatter Settlements in Tumana and Its Effects on the Morality of the Teenage Residents. We would like to have a clear background on the history of Squatter Settlements in Tumana so if you won’t mind Sir can we would like to ask for an interview with regard to these.

      I’m sorry Sir for this kind of an informal invitation we made through this website. We are hoping that you would give us a chance to interview you. Please inform us sir if you would agree for an interview. You can e-mail us Sir through

      Thank you very much, Sir.

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