Bill urges anti-flood measures for metro real estate projects

February 03, 2019

CAMARINES Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte has sought to require commercial, institutional and residential estate developers to put up rainwater retention facilities in their upcoming projects in Metro Manila and other major cities to help reduce flooding and allow the harvested water to be used for non-potable purposes.

Villafuerte’s proposal, outlined in House Bill (HB) 8088, covers new real estate projects. According to Villafuerte, his proposed rainwater retention facilities will capture the rainwater, purify it, and store it for non-potable uses,  “thereby effectively reducing the amount of rainwater that submerges Metro Manila roads during the rainy season, as well as feed the demand for water in the cities.”

He added that while Metro Manila is annually drenched with some 20,000 millimeters rainwater, many parts of the metropolis and other major cities are unable to absorb the rainwater they receive.

Under Villafuerte’s bill, no project design or building permit for a new real estate project in Metro Manila and other major cities shall be approved by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) and local government units (LGUs) unless it includes a rainwater retention facility.

“Instead of undergoing the earth’s natural process of recycling rainwater through its aquifers, the rainwater proceeds to the sewers, polluting the surrounding bodies of water and flooding roads.” It is lamentable that despite the incessant flooding of major thoroughfares resulting in heavy traffic, the State has failed to come up with measures to address the situation,” he said.

Villafuerte noted that places like Cebu, Baguio, and Nueva Ecija have already adapted measures to utilize rainwater for non-potable uses.

Elsewhere, the state of California is implementing its Rainwater Capture Act to address the widespread drought that its residents suffer during the dry season, while in Australia, most buildings use captured rainwater for fountains, and in flush toilets, said Villafuerte.

“Rainwater is a free, abundant, and regular natural resource that the Philippines is fortunate to receive year in and out. 

It is high time that we make use of it for the general advantage of our people,” he said.

Under HB 8088, an owner or developer of a new commercial, institutional and residential development project in Metro Manila and other major cities with an area of at least 1,500 square meters is required to develop, and maintain at least 3 percent of the total area, exclusive of roads, service streets and alleys, as a rainwater harvesting facility.

The owner or developer of an ongoing commercial, institutional, and residential development project in Metro Manila and other major cities that has no existing provision for a rainwater facility is required to build the facility within a period of three years from the effectivity of the proposed law.

If the owner or developer fails to comply, he or she “shall suffer the penalty of a fine of not less than five hundred thousand pesos (P50,000), but not more than two million pesos (P2,000,000 ) for every year of non-compliance,” the bill states.