Saturday, April 12, 2014
Flood & Politics seven months later
By Cecille Garcia
Apr. 11, 2014 at 12:01am
SUBIC, Zambales—Lack of funds has stopped critical flood control projects here, endangering the lives of residents in the province, local authorities said.
In a meeting held by the Interior and Local Government Regional Director Florida Dijan, Zambales officials said dredging and desilting of clogged waterways, among other measures, should be completed before the rainy season.
“Our province is running against time to implement crucial flood-control projects before rains come,” said Governor Hermogenes Ebdane Jr., former Public Works and Highways secretary.
He called for a “cohesive effort” of town mayors to ask the Office of the President and DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singzon to release the funds for anti-flood infrastructure projects.
“Let’s all set aside politics when it comes with plans and programs related to natural calamities to ensure safety of lives and properties of residents,” he told the local executives.
Zambales 1st district Rep. Jeffrey Khonghun expressed urgency of preventing widespread destruction in the flood-prone sections of the province.
“We do not want to play blame game when massive flooding will again hit us this coming rainy season which may result to loss of lives just like what happened last year,” he said.
The meeting was joined by Subic Mayor Jay Khonghun, San Marcelino Mayor Jose Rodriguez, Castillejos Mayor Jose Angelo Dominguez, DPWH regional director Antonio Molano Jr. and other Zambales and regional officials of various agencies.
According to Zambales 1st District Engineer Hercules Manglicmot said his office is awaiting release of P192 million for flood control projects.
Of the P140 million requested for Subic alone, DPWH has released only P7 million to dredge Matain river.
Other project includes dredging and desilting of Kalaklan and Sta.Rita rivers in Olongapo, dredging and desilting of Matain, Tamayok, Pamatawan, Wawandue and Marelalec rivers in Subic.
Manglicmot said the proposed reconstruction of drainage systems in Castillejos and San Marcelino have yet to receive their respective allocations.
“The City of Olongapo and municipalities of Subic, Castillejos and San Marcelino suffered massive flooding due to the low carrying of the rivers brought by heavy river siltation,” he said.
“As a result, flood waters overflowed the riverbanks damaging the existing slope protection structure which requires immediate rehabilitation.”
Olongapo Mayor Rolen Paulino said the city lost over P1 billion in both public and private properties last year’s flooding that left 11 dead due to Leptospirosis that infected about 800 residents.
Ebdane approved the creation of a Technical Working Group led by Zambales Provincial Engineer Domingo Mariano with members composed of all municipal engineers, DILG, Office of Civil Defense, Community Environment and Natural Resources Marife Castillo and other agencies.