OLONGAPO CITY -- The City Government here has found a way to dredge its river channel, after the massive flooding in August and September and the recent outbreak of leptospirosis due to the flood.
The dredging operation started after SM Prime Holding donated a backhoe worth P2.4 million in an effort to help the debt-ridden city unclog its river channel.
Olongapo is currently dealing with the P5.1-billion debt left by the previous administration, including some other loans that have matured.
“The donation of SM is a big help to the city, we cannot afford to buy any equipment due to lack of funds,” said Mayor Rolen Paulino.
OLONGAPO. Mayor Rolen Paulino inspects the ongoing dredging operation at the East Bajac-bajac flood gate, which serves as main outlet of water coming from the inner part of the city. (Anthony Bayarong)
He said other businessmen are also helping his administration dredge the city's river slowly. “Two dump trucks have also been lent to us by a private auctioneer inside Subci Bay Freeport and another two, which are now being used in another site came from private indivuduals.”
The backhoe donated by SM arrived last December 2 and was used immediately in the dredging operation.
“I have tasked the engineering office to immediately start the dredging of the Kalaklan River, this may not permanently rid out the flood but it w ll lower it,” Paulino said.
He added that the City Planning and Development Office is now trying to determine the cause of the flooding and find a solution to the problem.
Last August and September, the city suffered its worst flooding in years after the previous administration failed to desilt the long stretch of Kalaklan River that serves as the main water channel going out to Subic Bay.
Another desilting effort is being conducted in the Banicain River. It started in August.
Zambales Representative Jeffrey Khonghun (1st district), meanwhile, said that he already asked the Department of Public Works and Highways to conduct a separate dredging program along the upstream of Sta. Rita River and at the mouth of Kalaklan River.
Khonghun’s hometown of Subic also suffered massive flooding during the rainy season.
He said a desilting program is also being implemented in the municipality of Subic. (Sunnex)