Among the special reports I’ve done so far, this story on how the presence of informal settlers along the Manggahan Floodway contributed to the massive floods tropical storm Ondoy caused last year is one of my favorites.

I’m posting this because I think it’s timely since there are a bunch of strong cyclones coming in the next three months, thanks in part to the La Niña phenomenon. Let’s see if stakeholders have learned their lesson this time.

Save for lacy curtains and a crumpled poster of a perfume bottle, the first floor of Sarah Hernandez’s small concrete home is completely bare. Whatever was spared by Tropical Storm Ondoy was moved to the second floor, where she, her husband, and their two young children have stayed for the last three weeks.

On a recent sunny day, with news of another storm approaching, Sarah finally found time to clean. As she looked around the emptiness with a cleaning broom in hand, Sarah said, “Para tayong bagong panganak (It’s like the day we were born).”

One month after Ondoy dumped a record amount of rainfall on Metro Manila and its environs, Sarah and her family are like the untold thousands still far from recovering from the storm.

But in a way that could compound their misery, the Hernandez family and their neighbors are different from other victims. Living along the Manggahan Floodway, one of the biggest flood control projects in the country, they are also being blamed as culprits for the most devastating flood the metropolis has ever seen. READ MORE


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