NAGA CITY: Days of continuous rains scoured a concrete part of the on-going revetment project here and caused it to slide down the river on late Friday afternoon.
“The wall collapsed at the bend in Barangay San Felipe,” Mayor John Bongat said after an early morning inspection of the site on Saturday.
Asked to comment on what caused the concrete wall and sidewalk to collapse, engineers from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) who went to the site to assess the damage, declined to talk, saying they were “not authorized” to do so.
A local radio reporter, however, observed that the volume of rain since November 1 may have contributed to the collapse as well as the use of small stones for the lining of the riprap walls which he said reminded him of the collapse of an irrigation dam in Nabua, Camarines Sur in 1993.
The revetment project is part of the multimillion-peso Integrated Naga River Revitalization Program which aims to revivify the river, the traditional venue for Bicol’s famed fluvial procession in September when the image of the Virgin of Peñafrancia is returned to the Basilica.
The P300-million flood control project funded by the national government covers some 2.8 kilometers of the river; it is being implemented by the DPWH.
Meanwhile, at least three towns in Maguindanao province on Saturday were submerged in floodwaters following downpours spawned by a low-pressure area and the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ).
At least 28 villages in the towns of Datu Piang and Datu Salibo were knee-deep in floodwaters, provincial disaster officials said.
Eduardo Diesto, Datu Piang’s disaster risk reduction and management officer, said 16 low-lying villages have been inundated which is an annual occurrence in these communities.
Datu Piang and Datu Salibo are catch basins of floodwaters from Datu Saudi Ampatuan and Shariff Aguak, also in Maguindanao, which are located in higher grounds.
“The floodwater is still rising because it is raining in South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat,” Datu Piang resident Propes Salik, 39, a pedicab driver.
Barangay Pagatin in Datu Saudi Ampatuan was also flooded, he said.
Disaster officials said other low-lying towns were also flooded but the Office of Civil Defense in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao has yet to receive situational reports.
Floods are perennial problems in at least 16 towns surrounding the vast Maguindanao marshland, also known as the Liguasan marsh.
The marshland is a catch basin of floods whenever heavy to moderate rains drench the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato and parts of Bukidnon.
Prone to floods are the towns of Datu Piang, Datu Salibo, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Mamasapano, Sultan sa Barongis, SK Pendatun, Buluan, Mangudadatu, Pandag, Pagalungan, Datu Montawal, Sultan Mastura, Sultan Kudarat, Kabuntalan Mother and Northern Kabuntalan, all surrounding the Maguindanao marshland.
The water exits through the Rio Grande de Mindanao.