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Use of troops to deal with drought ruled out.

Air seeding over the Angat Dam, which supplies northern Manila, is expected to alleviate the city's crisis

Manila President Benigno Simeon Aquino III does not see the need to deploy soldiers in Metro Manila in the face of a water supply problem experienced in parts of the metropolis.

During a briefing held during the turnover ceremonies for the new Army leadership yesterday, Aquino III dispelled purported government plans to send in troops to ensure order among irate metropolis residents queuing to get water rations.

"No troops were deployed and if there are some issues to address law and order situation, it's more properly in the venue of the PNP (Philippine National Police)," he said.

Aquino said calling in the troops would be an overreaction and that if there was indeed chaos in the water distribution queues, the matter can be addressed by local village authorities and the police and not the military.

Earlier on Thursday, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson was quoted by reports as saying that the government may have to ask the help of the armed forces to ensure order in the long water queues.

There had been widespread apprehension of a worsening water shortage situation as portions of Metro Manila endured several days without water in their taps.

Portions of Metro Manila, especially those in the northern portions of the metropolis such as the suburbs of Quezon City, Caloocan, Malabon and Navotas had been experiencing water shortages over the past week.

Television showed videos of irate residents vandalising water lines and scrambling to firetrucks deputised to supply water.

Earlier, authorities said the rainfall experienced by Metro Manila had been inadequate to ensure a enough supply to raise the water level at the Angat Dam, the main facility providing water and electrical power to residents in the northern portions of the metropolis. But Aquino clarified that there is no need for Metro Manila residents to panic as the government can address the situation.

Authorities said the local water utility agency in charge of northern Metro Manila's water supply, Maynilad, had hired aircraft to perform cloud seeding operations over the Angat Dam over the past two days in a bid to stem the crisis. Singson said rain over the past few days alleviated Metro Manila's water situation and that more rain is expected.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Jul 24, 2010
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