WWF exec supports move to decongest NCR

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- World Wide Fund (WWF) chief executive officer and Unesco trustee Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan recently said that he is one with the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. in its advocacy to decentralize and decongest the National Capitol Region (NCR).

Speaking before the chamber’s members during a climate change forum, Tan said that planners, industry players and stakeholders should now consider the risks posed by "new normal weather disturbances" not only to economic activities but to people’s lives as well.

"In my talks with government officials, I have discussing about the decentralization and decongestion of Metro Manila because of the many risks to people, sectors, industries and stakeholders. With what we call the new normal brought about by climate change, there should be a shift in policies. I was proposing to them, why not invest or relocate to R-3 (Region III) or R-4 (Region IV) where risks could at least be minimal?" he said.


Tan noted that disasters are just waiting to happen in NCR, with the West Valley fault and the growing effects of flooding and environmental degradation.

"Additionally, Metro Manila’s population is growing rapidly although many are starting to move out because of congestion. The only thing for nearby regions is that they should be prepared for migration with the proper infrastructure that could cushion the effects on financial, educational and other vital institutions,” he added.

Solons for decentralization of NCR, too

Similarly, two legislators believed that the decentralization of the NCR will help solve the country's classroom shortage.

House committee on basic education and culture chair Carmen Cojuangco and committee on higher and technical education chair Roman Romulo both agreed that the decentralization of Metro Manila will result to less number of students that will be accommodated in government-run schools.

"We have to decentralize Manila. It has to be an over-all, big, grand scale plan to decentralize (the capital). Start developing areas outside of Manila that are complete so that people will not be afraid to live in those areas. People come here because everything's here. Why don't we start putting our attention into other provinces, in the North, in the South, Central Luzon," said Conjuangco in a news conference.

Conjuanco noted that a total of 66,813 classrooms had been built as of December 2013 to address the 2010 backlog of 66,800.

"So if you look at the figures we don't have problem but this is based on 2010 backlog. For 2011 and 2014, my committee is trying to get figures from the DepEd, what is really the actual backlog because, why are there still complaints about lack of classrooms and over filling of classrooms," she added.

She added that from 2011 to 2014 the number of students has increased significantly.

"There's also a lot of migrants from all over the country coming in to Manila and every year the public schools get a little bit of shock because they have all these school children and that just appear in the public schools and they’re mostly from the provinces and maybe also because of the typhoon hit areas like Yolanda so there is congestion," she said.

On his part, Romulo said that the government could not construct new school buildings in the capital because of lack of spaces.

"The main problem, if we build more classrooms, is the area, also we cannot afford to buy vacant lot for school buildings," he said. (JTD with John Carlo Cahinhinan/Sunnex)

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on June 05, 2014.

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