By James A. Loyola
San Miguel Corporation (SMC) is planning to submit an unsolicited proposal for a $2-billion spillway that will drain floodwaters from Laguna de Bay to Manila Bay and help reduce flooding in Metro Manila.
In an interview, SMC President Ramon S. Ang said their proposed spillway will have a diameter of 14 meters or almost 50 feet, adding that it is a more important flood control project compared to merely dredging Laguna de Bay.
He noted that the severe flooding experienced in Metro Manila during Typhoon Ondoy was because the lake is now only 2.5 meters deep, when it used to have a depth of 20 meters, because it is full of garbage.
“The lake serves as catch basin for all the rainwater. There should be a big spillway to channel all that water from Laguna de Bay to Manila Bay. If this spillway is not built and all that dirty water is not drained, the water level will rise yearly and there will be massive flooding in Metro Manila every rainy season,” explained Ang.
Ang said government needs to be prodded to support such a project since it is long overdue. “Once you drain all of that water from the lake, there will be no more flooding in Metro Manila,” he said adding that the water running through the spillway can also be harnessed to generate electricity.
He noted that the government will not have to pay SMC for undertaking the project. All SMC wants is to be granted the right to use the materials to generate power.
Ang said they already have a technical partner for the project but said it is too early to name the company.
The government had been trying unsuccessfully to bid out the Laguna de Bay project which involves putting up a high standard highway with a dike to ease congestion and mitigate flooding in the western coastal communities along the Laguna Lake.
The highway will be from Taguig in Metro Manila through the towns of Calamba to the Los Baños Bay boundary in Laguna.
The winning bidder is supposed to be responsible for the financing, design, construction as well as operations and maintenance of a 47-kilometer flood control dike with six-lane expressway toll road on top for 37 years.
The private partner will also construct interchanges, bridges, floodgates, and pumps from Taguig to Los Baños, and execute the reclamation of 700 hectares located west of and abutting the expressway-dike and separated from the shoreline by a 100-150-meter channel, in Taguig and Muntinlupa.