The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) presented to senators on Wednesday the major flood control project that could significantly give relief to residents of Pampanga, Bulacan, as well as Nueva Ecija from constant floods. DPWH Secretary Manuel Bonoan told the Senate Committee on Public Works that the Central Luzon – Pampanga Floodway and San Antonio Swamp Ring Dike Project, which will be funded by the Asian Development Bank, is still in the level of financing arrangements and would most probably start next year. “This is going to be a construction of about 60 kilometers of floodway. [About] 400-meter wide po ito (This is 400 meters wide) and this is going to be the major project that will be implemented actually,” Bonoan said. “By next year po siguro (maybe), we’re hoping that we can start this project. This will be the major project in Central Luzon,” he added. According to the agency’s presentation, the project alignment starts from the mouth of San Antonio Swamp and passes through seven towns of Pampanga, particularly Arayat, Sta. Ana, Mexico, Sto. Tomas, Minalin, Macabebe, and Masantol. DWPH expects the project to benefit 44 towns of Pampanga, Bulacan, and Nueva Ecija by reducing flood damage at about PHP21.3 billion on infrastructure, buildings, commercial establishments, and other facilities with around 356,000 individuals being protected or relieved from floods. Flood damage to agricultural and aquaculture will also be reduced to 89.5 percent and 92 percent, respectively, with reduced duration of floods and impounding by 76 percent. The Central Luzon – Pampanga Floodway and San Antonio Swamp Ring Dike Project is expected to dispose of flood waters coming from the Upper Pampanga River catchment directly to Manila Bay by building a 100-year flood design floodway channel. The panel chaired by Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. called the hearing in response to various resolutions filed seeking to look into the status of various flood control projects after the Typhoon Egay aftermath in different parts of the country. Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, who hails from Bulacan, was frustrated during the hearing but expressed his full support to Bonoan in addressing the flood problem. “Kayo po yung inaasahan naming pinakamalaking pag-asa na nakikita dito Secretary dahil bagong leadership. Kung ilagay din sa talaan ng bulwagang ito Mr. Chairman na ako susuporta ako kay secretary kahit sino pa po ang makalaban niya (We see you as our biggest hope because of your new leadership. For the record in this chamber, I will support secretary whoever he will encounter),” Villanueva said. “Kung ia-address niyo po itong problemang ito, kahit sino po makalaban ninyo, kahit pinakamataas na tao sa balat ng lupa, susuportahan ko po kayo at raralihin ko po yung buong probinsiya ko (If you will address this problem, whoever you will encounter, even the highest person in the surface of the earth, I will support you and I will rally my entire province),” he added. Senator Robinhood Padilla also hoped for the success of the project. “Kaya sana po sa usapin po na ito pinag uusapan natin meron kayong planong 60 kilometer floodway, sana ito po ay okay na ito, sana maka-solve ito sa problema natin (In this topic that we are talking about with you planning to build a 60-kilometer floodway, I hope this will be okay and will solve our problem),” Padilla said. “Kaya sana maintindihan nyo kami. Di namin kayo pinagagalitan. Wala kaming karapatang magalit sa inyo. Lahat po tayo ay public servant. Nakikiusap po kami sa inyo (I hope you understand us. We are not scolding you. We have no right to scold you. We are all public servants. We are just asking you),” he added. According to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, over 228,000 families from 17 barangays were affected by floods in Bulacan. Damage to agriculture and infrastructure in the province reached PHP93,023,705 and PHP500,000,000, respectively. Meanwhile, over 512,000 individuals from 232 barangays across 15 towns of Pampanga were also affected by the floods.
Source: Philippines News Agency