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Dredge, Dredge, Dredge

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IN THE olden days, when the roadside open canal got silted, it was simply dug to allow the free fl ow of rainwaters towards the creek or river where the canals were usually connected. It worked.

In modern times, roadside canals are usually covered. And when they filled with silt, the roads are raised. The water trapped, spilling over every which way but to the creeks that have vanished – buildings over them, and the rivers, themselves heavily silted and constricted by encroachments.

It does not take a civil engineer to see the wisdom of the old, its practicality in addressing the flooding problems.

On the contrary, all it takes is a veterinary medicine graduate-turned-contractor and elected mayor to push for road-raising at all costs – to his constituents’ sufferance of the dire consequences.

Thus, it was this weekend past, and still is at the start of this week, in my hometown of Sto. Tomas – heavy flooding precisely, ironically too, in the very areas where the road was “improved.”

Epal-ized as “a priority project of Cong. Rimpy Bondoc,” along with Mayor Johnny Sambo, et al, the “rehabilitation/improvement of Sto. Tomas-Minalin Road” consisted in part the raising of the approaches to Tete Batu, the bridge at the boundary of barangays Sto. Nino (Sapa) and San Vicente.

By some one meter were the approaches elevated, running some 200 meters to north, and abruptly cut with a sharp incline to the existing road.

Came the monsoons this weekend, the rainwaters trapped where the “improvement” ended, spilling to the houses by the road rendered impassable to all but the soupedup monster-wheeled 4X4’s of the off -roading mayor and his cohorts.

Ah, if only curses could kill, our vet-turnedcontractor- turned-mayor would be but a memory, his very ashes already scattered on the fl oodwaters of his town by now.

Mewala ne ing sapa. Mababo ne ing ilug. Tinas me pa ing dalan. Mibusalan la ring canal. Talagang dilubyu ing quecang pantunan!

Nanay knows best

It is not enough for the Duterte administration to just Build, Build, Build.

Money – tons of it – spent in the construction of roads and bridges goes down the drain, literally, at every onslaught of the monsoons and their consequential deluge.

The wisdom of the old is not lost to Gov. Lilia G. Pineda as she has incessantly called – since her first day at the Capitol in 2010 – for the dredging of the Pampanga River and its tributaries.

Late last month, “in response” to the governor’s call, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar “ordered the desilting and clearing of the waterways of Pampanga River and improvement of its water-catching capacity” with the immediate deployment of two dredgers. So, media dutifully reported.

In a subsequent hearing on disaster management in Congress, Pineda pushed the ante for new and bigger dredging machines for year-round operations at the mouth of the Pampanga River.

Said the governor: “Puwedi naka maglakad keng mouth ning Pampanga River (You can already walk at the mouth of Pampanga River).”

“Can you imagine, Pampanga River is 264 kilometers from Nueva Ecija and meandering even through parts of Aurora and all of these waters drain at the mouth of Pampanga River which is choked. What will happen to us?” Pineda explained.

And she would not leave all costs to the national government, ascertaining the Capitol’s help in the purchase of spoil sites for the silt that will be dredged to avoid stockpiling it on the embankment and washed away, back to the rivers, when the heavy rains pour again.

Yeah, even in the field of infrastructure and disaster mitigation, that truism “Nanay knows best” stands on solid ground.

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