Massive flood control master plan set

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    BALANGA CITY – The local government here has readied a massive flood control mechanism so as not to have a repeat of the worst floods that it experienced the past two successive years, the mayor announced on Monday.

     City Mayor Jose Enrique Garcia III admitted it would be a gigantic undertaking but that it could be made possible if the Department of Public Works and Highways and the provincial, city and barangay governments
    will help fund the flood control master plan.

    “Upang magtagumpay, kailangan ding suportahan ang ating plano ng mga taong-bayan, non-governmental organizations at pribadong sector,” the mayor said. Many factors contributed to the flooding and the flood control master plan involves multi-million pesos in funding requirements.

    Garcia said he has requested Pres. Aquino and DPWH Sec. Rogelio Singson to declare as national government’s priority projects the major desilting and dredging projects in Balanga City.

    These projects involve the dredging of the Sibacan-Cataning River from the mouth in Manila Bay to Ugong in Cataning; deepening and widening of the Tuyo River; construction of a by-pass river channel to stop flooding in Barangays Tenejero, Ibayo and Sibacan; diversion of the Cataning River and dredging operations in the Talisay-Tortugas- Pto. Rivas.

    The mayor said the city has so far made use of P24.1 million from its general and calamity fund in manual desilting, repair/rehab of drainage systems, earth dikes and revetment. The city government for this year has prepared P70 million for fl ood control projects in different barangays.

    Garcia said that under the city flood control program are the planting of forest trees and mangrove, relocation of informal dwellers beside rivers and the proper handling of garbage. Aside from its annual tree planting activity, the city planted 13,000 tree seedlings in Barangay Tuyo.

    He said he was hopeful that this year, the P24-million fund from the National Housing Authority will be released for the initial site development of the housing project in Barangay Cataning. Garcia announced the opening this year of the aerobic-landfi ll with bio-reactor that he described as a modern landfill that will be used in handling the garbage collection in the city.

    The mayor said that in the ‘80s and ‘90s, flooding was a serious problem of Balanga. It was lessened in 2002
    and for 10 years there were no severe fl oods after massive dredging and desilting activities were implemented.

    Thinking of global warming and climate change, Garcia said he has requested DPWH since 2008 to conduct again the dredging of rivers in Balanga City but that it was done only for a short time after dredging operations were transferred to the Pampanga Delta.

    Habagat struck in August of 2012 and 2013 inundating the Plaza Mayor de Balanga, the commercial district and many barangays in the city. “Nakalulungkot na noong 2013, hindi lang isa kundi dalawang matinding pagbaha ang naranasan natin kaya  magtulong-tulong,” Garcia said.

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