By Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza, Reporter and John Felix M. Unson, Correspondent

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. vowed to build more impounding pools to address flooding woes in the country’s low-lying areas, like in Central Mindanao, as he visited Zamboanga City on Tuesday to distribute sacks of smuggled rice to thousands of residents.

Water that will go to the impounding pools will be used for irrigation once the flooding subsides, he said in an interview with reporters covering his visit. “We will dig and we will store the water there. It’s good because we will not waste the water,” he said in Filipino.

“When it’s no longer raining, we will use the water for irrigation, we can also put fish there,” he added.

At the same time, Mr. Marcos underscored the importance of improving weather forecasting to mitigate flooding, but did not elaborate how that can be achieved.

Last Monday, flashfloods caused by heavy rains swept through low-lying towns of Central Mindanao, affecting thousands of residents in Maguindanao del Sur and Cotabato.

Among the towns inundated, as rivers crisscrossing the provinces swelled to inhabited areas, were Pagalungan and Montawal, both in Maguindanao del Sur, and Pikit in Cotabato.

The three towns are near the 220,000-hectare Liguasan Delta, a catch basin for more than a dozen big rivers that spring from hinterlands in the provinces of Bukidnon, Cotabato, South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat.

Combined reports from local governments, the Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry Division, and agencies of the Bangsamoro government indicated that low-lying areas in Maguindanao del Sur’s adjoining Datu Hoffer, Shariff Aguak, Datu Anggal Midtimbang, Pandag, Talayan, Guindulungan, Datu Saudi Ampatuan and Datu Unsay were also flooded by rainwater cascading from the uplands.