NOW THAT the University has moved its academic calendar closer to the height of the monsoon season, will it be able to endure the inevitable rain and flooding inside the campus?

Flooding during the rainy season is a usual event for Thomasians, which is why UST has fortified its plans for crisis management this coming school year.

Lawrence Pangan, Facilities Management Office (FMO) in-house engineer, said flooding inside the University depended on how well the drainage system would work outside the campus.

“People should also think about that when there is flooding outside, which could possibly flow back inside the campus because many low areas surround the University. So, if there’s no other way the floodwater can go, it will overflow into the campus,” he said in an interview with the Varsitarian.

Pangan added that the University had tried to control flooding inside the campus by raising concrete pavements and improving the sewage system.

“We are declogging drainages. If you will notice, flood within the campus subsides first before [it does] outside the campus. It shows that our drainage system is working well,” he said.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has projects around UST to decrease flooding, he said.

“One of these is the Blumentritt floodwater interceptor which aims to trap floodwater coming from Quezon Citythe main source of flooding in Sampaloc according to DPWH studiesand transfer it directly to Manila Bay without traversing España,” he said.

However, Architecture Dean John Fernandez said the University should not be “too optimistic” this year as regards flooding inside the campus.

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“Expect what we usually experience when there is strong rainfall. Regarding [flood] reduction, I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel until the floodwater interceptor is finished, which will probably be in another two years. Although, DPWH is currently doing a flood control project along Morayta that aims to clear floodwater faster,” he added.

DPWH and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) are improving drainage systems in Manila to minimize the chances of flooding.

Meanwhile, plans of turning the UST Grandstand into a catch basin for floodwater were dismissed because the Grandstand is considered as a national cultural treasure by the National Museum, Fernandez said.

Ina Vergara, Central Student Council (CSC) president, said that this academic year, all announcements regarding class suspensions and University-wide concerns would come from the CSC Public Relations Officer Jacob See and would be relayed to both the class presidents and class PROs to ensure a wider information dissemination.

According to the Crisis Management Manual, the University’s Rescue Team, composed of floor captains (faculty members), marshals (students and teachers), searchers (students), first aid team (Red Cross), and traffic control team (students and security guards), will direct the movement of stranded students to evacuation sites, which are the Tan Yan Kee Building and the Quadricentennial Pavillion Building.

In these evacuation sites, the UST administration, along with the CSC, SOCC, and other volunteers, will provide food and water to the students.

Supplies will also be sent to other buildings through FMO trucks. Mary Gillan S. Ropero

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