Gov't asks DPWH to desilt Pampanga River

October 4, 2011 9:34 pm 

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Oct. 4 — The provincial government on Tuesday requested the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to spearhead the desilting activity along Pampanga River as its present condition contributes to flooding problem in the coastal villages in the fourth district of province.

Governor Lilia Pineda said the DPWH should prioritize the clearing operations at the Pampanga river at the portion of Macabebe and Masantol, two of the heavily affected towns in Pampanga since last week when two strong typhoons struck Central Luzon.

Pineda said several rivers, including those in Aurora and Nueva Ejica provinces, dumped their waters at the Pampanga river before it comes out of the Manila Bay.

“The high volume of water which is supposed to come out at the Pampanga bay flows back to our towns as the bay is heavily silted. It looks like it will stay for weeks and even months in other areas,” Pineda said.

The governor said that based on the report of the Pampanga River Basin Flood Forecasting and Warning System of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), “there are 15 rivers along the Pampanga river basin that greatly contribute to the massive flooding on the low-lying areas in Pampanga and Bulacan.”

Masantol Mayor Peter Flores disclosed that the total 26 barangays in their town remained flooded which started at the height of typhoon Pedring.

He described the floods in Macabebe and Masantol “as the worst in four decades.”

“I haven’t seen a worst flood like this one in Masantol in my entire lifetime,” said Flores, quoting his 70-year-old constituent.

Pineda said the DPWH and its regional office should “stop all other infrastructure projects in Pampanga and instead concentrate on the desilting of the clogged portion of the bay.”

“We must save lives, properties and the progressive business industry not just in Pampanga but nearby Bulacan,” said Pineda, who led the distribution of relief goods in Masantol, Macabebe, Apalit, Candaba, San Simon, San Luis, Arayat, Apalit and Sto. Tomas since last week. They are the worst hit towns in the province.

Pineda also announced that she will ask the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) to give her authority to allow private firms to desilt the downstream portion of the Gugu, Porac Gumain and Abacan river channels.

“They will not be asked to pay fees for the filing materials because what is important is that river channels will be cleared to complement the desilting of the Pampanga bay," said Pineda.

The first-term governor said she will convene a summit with national government agencies such as the DPWH, Department of Agriculture, DOST and Climate Change Commission to help farmers in Pampanga “properly address the effects of climate change on their production.”

Pineda said at least 18,000 farmers and their some 29,000 hectares farmland had been affected by flood.

She also cited the study of the National Water Resource Board that the lack of trees, the degradation of water shed, increased in sediment load, damages caused by the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo and overuse of ground water that loosens soil contribute to flooding.

Pineda said the P10-million study sponsored by Manny V. Pangilinan of the Maynilad Water Services “is timely”” to allow to use water coming from rains and in river channels and creeks for the supply of potable water.

At least 100,000 families or 450,000 residents have been affected by floods spawned by typhoons Pedring and Quiel.

Most of the affected residents are the 35,000 families living along the Pampanga river, measuring 260 kilometers from Arayat to Masantol. (PNA)

LDV/zst/HPM/ps

Comments

Comments are closed.