Tuesday, March 27, 2012

CL FLOOD CONTROL PROJECT: Relocation of families living along river banks assured

By Dino Balabo

 MALOLOS CITY—Families living along river banks will be relocated with the impending implementation of massive flood control project in Central Luzon.

“Dislocation will be addressed, may mga resettlement components na kasama yung flood control project sa Pampanga River Basin,” he said noting that it will cover the provinces of Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pampanga and Bulacan.

He said that the first part of the flood control project is to remove obstruction along water ways and river banks.

“May requirement sa batas na dapat may easement, this has not been respected, we have to start imposing the restriction, dahil sila din mapipinsala pag bumabaha,” Singson said.

Among those that are likely to be affected are residents of Hagonoy, Paombong and Calumpit towns in Bulacan who are living along the man-made Labangan Channel dug in the 70s.

Residents of the said towns, especially in Calumpit, are worried on the impending resurrection of the phase II of the Pampanga Delta Development Project (PDDP-II) which was stalled in the early 90s when it was opposed by Bulakenyos.

The Phase I of the PDDP was completed in the late 80s after the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) dredged fishponds on both sides of the Pampanga River from Apalit town to the Manila Bay.

However, Singson said that the flood control masterplan not only include construction of dikes and embankment, but water resource management as well.

As the appointed “water czar” by the President, Singson explained that only 20 percent of total rainfall in the country annually is being utilized.

“Nakakalungkot, 28 percent lang ang nagagamit ng ating ulan, and the rest either cause problems like loss of lives and property, or natatapon sa mga ilog at oceans at di na napapakinabangan,” he said.

The secretary stressed that despite getting abundant rainfall all throughout the year, there are parts of the country that suffers from shortage of water for irrigation due to lack of integrated water management.

This means that the proposed filtration system along the Angat River in Bulacan will be integrated in the whole flood control master plan.

According to Antonio Nangel, administrator of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), the establishment of a series of filtration system along the Angat River will address looming groundwater shortage.

He said that water from the river can be pumped into reservoirs that will be constructed, then, filtered before distributing it to household through local water district’s pipelines.

Nangel added that that the proposed water filtration system will also address perennial flooding in Bulacan.

Singson affirmed that Nangel’s proposal will be considered in the proposed flood control masterplan which also include a flood warning and forecasting system.

He said that the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) along with allied agency, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration and the Department of Transportation and Communications is rolling out a flood modeling, forecasting and warning system.

The system will be implemented in 18 river basins in the country which straddles 33 provinces.

Singson said that through the system, they will be able to warn residents living along the river banks six hours before the flood.