Mayor bares project to shield Cabanatuan from massive floods

    CABANATUAN CITY – Two massive floods hit this city, one in the remote past and the other just two years ago. They linger in the mind of high city government officials here and they want no repeat of them to happen here again.

    An ambitious but a feasible project is set to be implemented here starting next year to possibly shield this city from similar calamitous events.

    In 1936, a huge flood swept through a village here killing at least 1,000 people.

    In 2015, due to the effects of Typhoons Lando and Nona, massive flood and debris flow that included particularly silt, swept thru many villages here, including parts of the business center.

    Although the 2015 calamity caused no human casualty, it caused losses in properties and temporarily displaced several families.

    The feet-high silt plastered roads, school buildings, school yards, and other government and private properties moved volunteers and government workers and machines to clear it for days.

    Classes were suspended and vehicles moved slowly due to the slippery roads as the debris were shoved off for days.

    That tragedy in 1936 prompted then Pres. Manuel Luis Quezon to order the construction of a dike to give protection to that village from another similar catastrophe.

    Mayor Julius Ceasar Vergara projected to replicate, in a bigger scale, what President Quezon did in the aftermath of that 1936 killer flood in a village here. He envisioned the construction of a flood control dike around this city.

    “The suffering endured by our residents here caused by those recent typhoons cannot be forgotten right away. We have to do something,” Vergara told newsmen as he paraded here recently, along with the holding of the annual “Alay-Lakad Project”, the 193 pieces of heavy equipment acquired by the city government.

    Of this number, 32 were procured by Vergara’s wife, Rep. Rossana Vergara of the 3rd District of Nueva Ecija, from her personal funds and the rest from the city government’s funds. Mayor Vergara said the city government is set to construct early next year a 17-kilometer dike around the city to prevent the onslaught of another massive flood here.

    “This is our response to the changing patterns in our environment, even as we continuously give concerns to agriculture, health, education, and every aspect of good governance, Vergara said.

    Earlier, the mayor said he commissioned a study of how this city, which has become one of the major business and commercial centers in Central Luzon, could be shielded from another disastrous flood.

    He noted that the flooding in this city was coming from other directions.

    Experts, who studied the massive flooding in the eastern part of Nueva Ecija, including this city, said 16 debris flows (of slurry, soil, rocks, uprooted trees, water and others) were recorded at the foot of the Sierra Madre Mountain range in the eastern part of the this province after the 2015 typhoons.

    The study noted that “alluvial fans” congregated at the Sierra Madre mountain range that caused the debris flows.

    It said that boulders as big as 3.5-meters were carried down by the flows along with uprooted trees and felled logs to villages and farms in nearby towns while the flood waters with the accompanying silt emptied in other places including this city.

    The putting up of a dike around the city was apparently recommended as a way of preventing another massive flooding in this city.

    “We will start the construction works on the dike using the city government’s heavy equipment early next year,” a consultant, who was a former government highways engineer, said.

    Vergara also took occasion to announce that a 1.2-kilometer, threelane-bridge spanning the Pampanga River here is under construction.

    Necessarily, this bridge, which is one of three within the city, will open up another by-pass road to ease the flow of traffic of those going to the Cagayan Valley region and back.

    The mayor said the use of the new and existing equipment of the city consisting of dump trucks, transit mixers, water trucks, pay loaders, road graders, vibratory compactors, back hoes, bulldozers, aggregate separators, stationary concrete pump, power paver, tractor heads, and mini-dump trucks would result to big reduction in cost of government infrastructure projects.

    Vergara said these pieces of heavy equipment of the local city government are also available for use by the areas which were also in the path of the debris flows from the mountain range.

    Officials from the 2nd engineering district of the Nueva Ecija said the heavy equipment provided by Congresswoman Vergara had expedited clearing activities in road sections, particularly in Gabaldon town, affected by landslides and mudslides during the recent typhoons.


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