BALANGA City: This component city of Bataan has readied a massive flood-control mechanism to prevent the recurrence of the floods it experienced for the past two successive years, the mayor announced on Monday.
City Mayor Jose Enrique Garcia 3rd admitted it would be a gigantic undertaking but that it could be feasible if the Department of Public Works and Highways and the provincial, city and barangay governments will help fund the flood-control master plan.
“To succeed, we need the support of the people, non-government organizations and the private sector,” the mayor said.
Many factors contributed to the flooding and the flood-control master plan needs millions of pesos in funds.
Garcia said he has requested President Benigno Aquino 3rd and DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson to declare as national government 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/rehabilitation of drainage systems, earth dikes and revetment. The city government for this year has prepared P70 million for flood control projects in different barangays.
Garcia said that the city flood control program covers 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. The mayor 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-landfill 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 ‘90’s, flooding was a serious problem of Balanga. It was lessened in 2002 and for 10 years there were no severe floods following massive dredging and desilting activities.
Thinking of global warming and climate change, Garcia said he has been requesting DPWH since 2008 to conduct again dredging of rivers in Balanga City but that it was done only for a short time and then 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.
“Unfortunately, we suffered not just one but two severe floods in 2013 so we all need to work together,” Garcia said.