The local government 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 Balanga City mayor announced Monday.
Mayor Jose Enrique Garcia III admitted it would be a gigantic undertaking but it could be made possible if the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the provincial, city and barangay governments will help fund the flood control master plan.
“In order to succeed, there is a need for the public, non-governmental organizations and private sector to support our plan,” Garcia said.
The mayor said that many factors contributed to the flooding and the flood control master plan involves multi-million pesos in funding requirements.
Garcia also said he has requested President Benigno Aquino III and DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson to declare as national government’s priority projects the major desilting and dredging projects in this city.
The 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 government has, so far, made use of P24.1 million from its general and calamity fund in manual desilting, repair/rehabiltation 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 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 also announced the opening this year of the aerobic-landfill with bio-reactor which 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 City.
It was lessened in 2002 and for 10 years there were no severe floods after massive dredging and desilting activities were implemented.
Thinking of global warming and climate change, Garcia said he has requested DPWH since 2008 to again conduct 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.
“In 2013, we experienced massive flooding not only once but twice. Thus, let us help each other,” Garcia said.
Press Release, January 8, 2014