Wednesday, October 31, 2012

EARTHQUAKE:“Big Bang” might strike near Angat Dam anytime

By Ramon Efren R. Lazaro

MALOLOS CITY – An environmentalist group in Bulacan, fears that an impending strong earthquake may strike any time after a mild quake was recorded to have emanated from the province. reported that “An earthquake, recorded at magnitude 3.8, shook Bulacan and parts of Metro Manila on Wednesday morning.

“Phivolcs said the quake was felt at Intensity 3 to 4 in Makati , Quezon City , and Pasig . There were no immediate reports of damage. Phivolcs said the quake occurred at about 10:07 a.m. (0207 GMT), with its epicenter 31 kilometers north of Dona Remedios Trinidad town in Bulacan.”

Bro. Martin Francisco, chairperson of the Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental Society Inc. (SSMESI),  noted that Angat Dam is located in the municipality of Norzagaray , an adjacent town of Dona Remedios Trinidad .

Francisco said that they are apprehensive that the mild quake might be a predecessor to a bigger and stronger earthquake “Batid naman ng marami na lagi kami sa Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental Society Inc (SSMESI) na nagpapaalala na baka ito na yun Big Bang ng Marikina West Fault Line kung saan ay kaakibat sa kinatatakutan natin ay maapektuhan ang kahinaan ng Angat Dam.”
In April this year, dam experts conducting safety study on the structural integrity of Angat Dam has recommended the immediate rehabilitation of the 44- year old dam and its dyke in Norzagaray, Bulacan after it was found that it was sitting on an earthquake fault line.

On the other hand, based on the draft final report submitted by John Grimston of Tonkin and Taylor International—the group commissioned by the government to conduct study on the structural integrity of Angat Dam in coordination with concerned government line-agencies—it was learned that during construction (of Angat dam), a series of fault traces were identified in the foundation of the main dyke for a distance of approximately 15km upstream of it.

Tonkin and Taylor team submitted findings and key conclusions that “the modelling indicates that the dam break flood wave will not only affect the areas near the Angat River, but spread and occupy vast areas well beyond the Angat River channel, and extend both upstream and downstream into the floodplain of the Pampanga River.’

The group also reported that “in total, there are 20 cities/towns in Bulacan, 7 cities/towns in Pampanga and 3 cities/towns in Metro Manila likely to be affected in a Dam/Dyke failure scenario.

It also said that inundation levels can reach as high as 10-30 meters in some areas of Norzagaray, Bustos and Baliuag, Bulacan due to the initial flood wave resulting from breakage. It may reach as high as 5-10 meters in some areas of Pulilan, Plaridel all the way to Calumpit and Malolos City . It is estimated that 3-5 meter flooding will reach areas of Pampanga (due to the Bustos Dam failure) and the flood plain all the way to Metro Manila. While other areas shall likely experience between 1-5 meters of flooding.
PHIVOLCS also opined that the Western Marikina Valley Fault ( WMVF) should be considered active, and that rupture of the main fault could trigger movement on the splay beneath the dyke of approximately 1 – 2m horizontal and 0.5m vertical.

Experts  noted that an earthquake on the Western Marikina Valley Fault could therefore trigger movement on the splay of fault trace mapping undertaken by PHIVOLCS suggests that the West Marikina Valley Fault (WMVF) runs several kilometres to the east of Angat Dam.

In September this year, government disaster response teams and officials from the national, provincial and local government conducted a simultaneous earthquake drill in Calumpit town.

Press statement from the Provincial Public Affairs Office headed by Maricel Cruz said that Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino Sy Alvarado explained that the earthquake drill was conducted by the National Disaster Risk Reduction Council (NDRRMC) as part of their 3rd quarter nationwide simultaneous earthquake drill for critical infrastructure, like Angat Dam.

The drill was personally supervised by NDRRMC officials led by Usec Eduardo Batac, undersecretary for Civil, Veterans and Reserve Affairs of the Department of National Defense; Usec Benito Ramos, NDRRMC executive director and administrator of the Office of Civil Defense in coordination with the Provincial Government of Bulacan, the PDRRMC and representatives from the National Power Corporation, operator of the Angat Dam hydroelectric power plant.

“It pays to be always alert and ready on any eventuality so that we will not be caught flatfooted when disaster of such magnitude struck,” Alvarado said.

If such an incident occurs, dam officials will activate its emergency action plans and will immediately notify and disseminate information to local government units, concerned agencies and then activate the early warning system and monitor the situation.

The PDRMMC will then facilitate the establishments of command posts that will oversee traffic, security, transport, rescue, fire fighting units and logistic teams

Help us, family of slain brothers asked DOJ

SAN RAFAEL, Bulacan—Fearing for their lives, relatives of two brothers here slain six months apart called on Justice Secretary Leila De Lima’s help due to threats of a son of a local politician who vowed to eliminate them.

They specifically asked that warrant of arrest (WOA) be immediate issued against three security aides of a local politicians suspected in killing SPO4 Norberto Ignacio on April 15, and his younger brother Renato who was killed last October 20.

Renato was laid to rest on Saturday at Sto. Cristo Catholic Cemetery in the nearby town of Baliwag.

“Sana po tulungan ninyo kami, na mabigyan ng hustisya at magkaroon ng patas na laban kasi makapangyarihan sila at kami ay mahirap lang,” said Beth Ignacio, the younger sister of the victims.

She said that suspects in the killing of her two brothers are the same and added that the killing stemmed from argument between Norberto and son of a politician at a cockpit arena months before he was killed.

She did not name the politician but noted that he and his son are rich and wields so much power.

This was affirmed by Edman De Guzman, the victim’s niece who narrated that a the politician’s son lost in the cockpit arena in Baliwag town and beat up the man who won the money.

The man asked help from Nortberto who was then serving as a police officer.

The politicians son asked Norberto for the man with an alleged plan to kill.

But Norberto refused and told the politician’s son that it is wrong.

“Doon na nagbanta yung anak na pulitiko na uubusin ang pamilya namin,” De Guzman said noting that months later, Norberto was killed.

On October 20, Renato, the younger brother of Norberto was shot behind his head while he was about to have dinner with his wife Josephine.

Josephine was also shot by the assailant in the chest but miraculously survived as the bullet fire from caliber .45 hit her wedding ring and the bullet strayed to lower part of her body damaging her internal organs.

She is now in critical but stable condition at the Bulacan Medical Center in Malolos City and was not able to attend to the burial of her husband on Saturday afternoon.

During the burial, grieving relatives demanded justice for the killing of Norberto and Renato.

In an interview before the burial, De Guzman said that the killing of his uncles were both planned.

He said that both were shot behind their heads noting that Norberto was about to leave the Baliwag cockpit arena on April 15 when a suspect approach him and talked to him, while another came from behind and fired at his head.

In the case of Renato, he was about the have dinner when the suspect barged from a door behind him and killed him.

De Guzman also showed the grassy portion in a vacant lot behind Renato’s house where the suspect stayed and waited before killing him. 

Bulacan bags 2nd Seal of Good Housekeeping award

MALOLOS CITY—Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas conferred to the provincial government of Bulacan the 2011 Seal of Good Housekeeping recently.

This is the second seal received by Bulacan in two years.  The first was last year when DILG award the provincial government the 2010 Seal of Good House Keeping.

The annual award is given to outstanding local government units (LGUs) in recognition  for their  overall performance Index based on the Local Government Performance Measurement System, Innovation and implemented programs from 2009 – 2011, and awards received in 2011 from accredited International, National and local award giving bodies.

Governor Wilhelmino Alvarad and Vice Governor Danie Fernando receive the award from Roxas in a ceremony held at Oxford Hote in Clark Freeport early this week.

In a statement, Alvarado said that the award was given in recognition of Bulacan’s efforts in advancing the principles of accountability and transparency in local governance which also placed the province second in the Regional Gawad Pamana ng Lahi.

The regional award’s theme fof this year is, “Tanglaw Kinabukasan, Awtonomiyang Lokal: Reporma sa Pag-unlad ng Ekonomiya ng Pamayanan at Pagsulong ng Kapayapaan ng Taong Bayan”.

“Ipinagmamalaki ko ‘yung ginagawa naming pagpapatupad ng No helmet no ride, kasi unti-unti naiintindihan ng mga mamamayan na para din sa ikabubuti nila ‘yon, sa mga ibinababa naming programa, nagagalak akong sabihin sa inyo hindi iyon magiging matagumpay kung hindi nagkakaisa ang mga Bulakenyo, mula sa mga namumuno, mga empleyado at mga mamamayan, lahat may papel na ginagampanan at nagpapasalamat kami na nakikita at nabibigyan ng halaga ‘yung mga ginagawa naming pagsisikap sa Bulacan,” the governor said.

Alvarado added that the award will not only make Bulakenyos proud, but a reminder that Bulacancan do things if local leaders are united and focused in achieving set goals.

Last year, the provincial government of Bulacan received its first Seal of Good Housekeeping award along with a number of municipalities in the province like San Rafael town and the City of Malolos.

As this developed, the municipalities of Baliwag and Donya Remedios Trinidad were identified as waterless municipalities and were chosen as beneficiaries of the SALINTUBIG aid.

Baliwag received a total of P3 million  in aid, while the mountain town of Donya Remedios Trinidad received  P7 million for their clean water project.  (Dino Balabo)

Real time traffic advisory on NLEX, SCTEX now online

MALOLOS CITY—The Tollways Management Corporations (TMC) is now implementing a real time travel advisory for the expressways north of Manila, saying it’s the first of its kind in the country.

The travel advisory is available online on and can be viewed on desktop computers or mobile gadgets like smartphones and ad IPads.

“This is one of two innovations we are implementing in time for the Halloween weekend,” said Benigno Valles, TMC senior manager for corporate communications.

The other innovation is the Lakbay Norte Pass which will ensure faster transactions on toll plaza’s as motorists will not have to pay cash for toll fee.

Valles said that both innovations were designed for the motorists’ comfort especially those who will travel to provinces north of Manila before and after the All Saints day weekend.

Like in the past, the TMC which operates the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) is expecting a 15 to 20 percent increase in traffic volume on both expressways before and after the Halloween break.

Records show that average daily traffic volume along the NLEX is at least 155,000 vehicles. It is expected to climb to about 200,000.

Valles said that with the new innovations, motorists can plan their travel.

He added, “if they monitored that traffic flow along NLEx is slow, they can stop and rest for the meantime at gas stations along the expressway.”

 Updated every minute, the TMC website according to Valles not only shows traffic conditions on real time basis and real time travel time from one toll plaza to another. It also provides advisory in case of accidents or road repairs.

He said that it can also be accessed using smartphones with internet connection, but he also advised drivers to have a navigator to read the advisories for them while driving.

With regards to the Lakbay Norte pass launched last week, he said that it can be used from October 31 to November 4 by motorists driving Class 1 vehicle cars and passenger vans.

A magnetic swipe card, the Lakbay Norte Pass is a prepaid toll card available to Class 1 vehicles going to Dau, Tarlac and Subic and those travelling back to Manila.

However, Valles said that Lakbay Norte Pass has only one way value with specific areas for use.

The one way trip toll value of the prepaid cards are as follows, P218 for vehicles traveling NLEx Balintawak/Mindanao Avenue to Dau or vice versa; P322.for NLEx Balintawak/Mindanao Avenue to Tarlac or vice versa and P408 for NLEx Balintawak/Mindanao Avenue to Subic or vice versa .

Lanes dedicated to Lakbay Norte Pass holders are located at the Balintawak, Mindanao Avenue, Dau, Bocaue Tarlac and Subic toll gates.

The Lakbay Norte Pass can be bought at the NLEx Customer Service Centers in Balintawak, Valenzuela, Bocaue, Tabang and San Fernando and Shell stations in A. Bonifacio, Mindanao Avenue, Barangay Bahay Toro and Santolan, Quezon City, Buendia, Makati and at the SBMA Tipo Total Gas station.