The project, Community-Based Flood Mitigation Management Program or CBFMMP for Bulacan was actually carried out from November 2005 to February 2006 with the purpose of implementing an early warning monitoring system for the province in terms of its flood disaster mitigation activities. However, planning and conditioning of the planned program for the province started out as early as late quarter of 2004. It was an off-shoot of the flood events that affected the Pampanga River Basin as a result of Tropical disturbances “Marce”, “Winnie” and “Yoyong”, in August, November and December 2004, respectively, in which a large part of the province was inundated. The project was mainly funded by the Provincial Government of Bulacan through its Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office . Technical aspects of the program, particularly determination of location of monitoring sites, river assessment levels, methods of observation, and other related activities were carried out by personnel of the Pampanga River Flood Forecasting and Warning Center (PRFFWC) of the Flood Forecasting Branch of PAGASA.
The nature of the program was to have a non-structural, community-based, holistic approach to flood disaster mitigation aspects. Practically, the program encompasses hydrological monitoring, information exchange and flood warning, and the disaster preparedness and response activities as applied to a certain community or to the sub-basin concerned. Deviant and localized flood events have also been considered in the program. It was designed and carried out with one main purpose in mind – …“a flood disaster-resilient and disaster-prepared people of the Province of Bulacan”.
The program was made possible through the contributory efforts of the following government agencies, primarily the Provincial Government of Bulacan, the Provincial Administrator’s Office, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, the Liga ng mga Barangay of Bulacan, the PRFFWC of FFB, PAGASA, and other local government agencies of the province of Bulacan.
It is through this program that the true essence of flood disaster mitigation was realized, and that is, “not only to keep the floodwaters away from the people but also to keep the people away from the floodwaters”.
The Community-Based Flood Mitigation Management Program (CBFMMP) for the Province of Bulacan is a non-structural flood mitigating means that encompasses hydrological monitoring, information exchange and flood warning, and the disaster preparedness and response phases as applied to a locality or a sub-basin area within the Pampanga River Basin area, particularly the river systems within the Bulacan province. It was conceived by the Pampanga River Flood Forecasting and Warning Center (PRFFWC) and generally funded by the Provincial Government of Bulacan.
The system is composed of a network of rainfall and water level monitoring stations and flood markers located strategically within the subject area and a local (dedicated) communication system for data and information transfer between the monitoring stations, the municipal/barangay disaster action teams, and the operations center (provincial capitol and PRFFWC). The system shall be manned by trained volunteer personnel of the municipality and/or barangay area concerned. The social and moral responsibilities of the LGU’s as well as of the local inhabitants in terms of disaster mitigation aspects shall be enhanced through continued exchange of information, dry-runs and drills, and regular disaster information (PID’s, etc.) activities and the positive attitude of the PDRMMC personnel. This hopes to ensure the sustainability aspect of the program.
The cost of the system, amounting to some
P 250,000 worth of monitoring instruments, field surveys and installations included, and partly some local communications lines have been shouldered by the Province of Bulacan through the PDRMMC with FFB, PRFFWC in particular, providing the technical aspect of the program and training. The system is composed of 7 water level monitoring stations that have been set-up along the Angat River (will act as a main back-up monitoring and warning points during excess reservoir releases from Angat & Ipo Dams). Three other river monitoring stations cover the other active tributaries within the province and one in a major channel of the Pampanga River. Four rain gages were installed at strategic locations within the province particularly in the eastern sections of the area close to the Sierra Madre mountain range. Some 12 flood markers were placed in the flood-prone areas of Hagonoy and Calumpit municipalities to complement the system.
River cross-sectioning for river dynamics to handle flood warnings were carried out as part of the program’s early warning stage. The training of the volunteer municipal/barangay observers immediately followed after the hydrographic works. This is, actually, the most critical part of the program. The effectiveness of the system will rely mainly on the observer’s training comprehension. The operation of the system is expected to start before mid-year of 2006 in preparation for the rainy season.
The program will augment the present monitoring system of the PRFFWC, particularly in the mid-eastern parts of the basin. It practically provides additional data support for the Candaba swamp and other flood-prone areas of the Province of Pampanga. Although the program does not have any of that state-of-art technology being used nowadays, except probably the means of communication, its sustainability and continued operations shall mainly be dependent on the dedication, commitment and trust of the province on a non-structural flood mitigating system that they can operate and call their very own and the continued support of the PRFFWC and its interaction with the PDRMMC-Bulacan.