Pangasinan mayors fear big flood will recur as breached dikes remained unclosed

October 19, 2009 11:16 pm 

By Leonardo V. Micua

LINGAYEN, Oct. 20 — Big floods may recur in the same areas that were inundated last week unless the dikes that were breached as a result of the abrupt release of huge volume of water from the San Roque Multi-purpose Dam Project (SRMDP) are plugged and eventually repaired.

This was expressed by five mayors whose towns are now unprotected following the breaches of flood control dikes in their areas when huge volume of water was spilled downstream of the Agno River by the San Roque Dam, and on another by the rampaging water of the Bued River.

The mayors asked Governor Amado Espino Jr. to ask the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to prioritize the reconstruction of the damaged dikes to save their people from floods.

Mayor Nonato Abrenica of Villasis said there were at least four portions of the flood control dikes in his towns that were breached by rampaging floodwater of the Agno River, which his people are now trying to plug with sandbags so the town will be saved from another flood.

He said the two portions of the dike in Barangay Lipay and one portion each in Barangay Caramutan and Puelay breached on October 9 when San Roque opened all its six gates, first at 27 meters and then by 31 meters, flooding 80 percent of Villasis town.

Though admitting that was the biggest flood he saw in Villasis in his lifetime, Abrenica was hoping that the sandbags can hold against the rampaging floodwater of the Agno River.

Abrenica said something must be done in the short term about the breached dikes, otherwise there would be more flooding in Villasis and other towns of Pangasinan.

On the other hand, Rosales Mayor Ricardo Revita, whose town absorbed the worst devastation from the flood, expressed fear a repeat of the flood because the concrete flood control dike that breached in Barangay Tumana has not yet been closed.

He said that Agno Flood Control Office headed by Director Fidel Ginez appeared not committed to help restore the damaged structure.

“To my consternation, Director Ginez did not even send any of his men to inspect the collapsed structure, to see what they can do to the problem,” Revita said.

Also flooded by about nine feet deep of water was the newly-built SM City Rosales in Barangay Carmen. The mall is still closed but will re-open after six months of clearing and reconstruction.

According to Revita, the Shoe Mart management has scheduled a meeting with officials of San Roque Dam to find out if the big flooding will not be repeated.

On the other hand, Alcala Mayor Manuel Collado said he was glad that the dike in his town did not breach but nevertheless they were flooded because the water from Rosales flowed towards Sto. Tomas, then Alcala.

Meanwhile, Sison Mayor Kimi Cojuangco, wife of Fifth District Congressman Mark Cojuangco, said that DPWH engineers have already inspected the collapsed flood control dike along the Bued River.

This structure, she said, was built some 10 years ago and left two spans in the middle of the Agat bridge connecting Pangasinan collapsed at the height of the flood.

As a result of the breached dike, the towns of Sison, Pozorrubio, Manaoag, San Jacinto, Mangaldan and Dagupan were affected as the water flowed towards Aloragat, Angalacan and Baloleng rivers in Mangaldan.

Mayor Cojuangco said that this was the same dike that suffered cracks during the last floods.

On the other hand, Mangaldan Mayor Herminio Romero said the flood in his town killed 12 people, considered the highest number of fatalities recorded in a single town in Pangasinan.

Romero echoed the call made by Mayor Abrenica that something must be done in the short time about the breached flood control dikes.

Due to rampaging floodwater of the Angalacan and Baloleng Rivers, an earth dike north of Mangaldan Poblacion was damaged, causing serious flooding in the whole town.

The other parts of the Agno River flood control dike that collapsed were in Barangays Bacnono and Tamaro in Bayambang, whose residents are still sheltered in an evacuation center at the covered court beside the Bayambang town hall as floodwater in their communities is still high. (PNA)

FFC/LVM/rma

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