METROPOLITAN Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino and his flood control team have opened a new office across the University’s main gate on España so as to effectively respond to traffic and flooding problems.

The MMDA monitoring center officially opened last June 25. It is located on the third floor of Brickly 1 dormitory, a three-story private building on España Boulevard and Centro Street.

In an interview with the Varsitarian, Tolentino said they would be staying in the monitoring center until December when monsoon season ends.

He said the MMDA had difficulty responding to the flash-flood that paralyzed Sampaloc and the rest of Manila last June 13 since the original monitoring center was located near the MMDA main office in Makati.

Tolentino said that because of the traffic paralysis caused by the flood, it took some time for MMDA to extend assistance to stranded students of UST and other schools in the University Belt.

He said that while the MMDA could not entirely prevent floods, it should be the first to respond to flood emergencies.

Tolentino promised to divide his time daily for MMDA in Makati and the MMDA monitoring center across UST.

He added the MMDA office would seek to coordinate with the University on flood and other emergency contingencies.

Emerson Carlos, assistant general manager for operations of MMDA, told the Varsitarian that they would ask the University for permission to use campus roads as “alternate routes” for motorists during heavy rains.

Carlos added the MMDA plans to park rubber boats and amphibian trucks on campus for stranded students during floods. There are also plans to train the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps for rescue work.

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“We already sent a letter to the Rector, but up to now it is not yet approved,” he said.

The monitoring center will be manned by 120 workers. There are 10 CCTV cameras installed around the University Bely, including three near UST and one in the intersection of España and Lacson Streets. All of them will be used to monitor flood situation and other emergencies.

Tolentino said the monitoring center would deliver fast emergency response not only to UST, but to the whole city as well

He added MMDA is also improving the drainage system along the major streets of Manila, especially flood-prone España.

Tolentino said the floods in the past weeks resulted from the unfinished drainage systems as a result of the rehabilitation of pipes around Manila. He assured drainage improvements and road re-blocking projects on Lang Laan, Tayuman, Carriedo, Blumentritt, Escolta, and Abad Santos would help in flood control. J. C. R. Obice

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