Friday , May 25, 2018

Groups unite to solve Pampanga’s flood woes

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Pampanga Provincial Capitol and a private sector called for a flood summit on Wednesday, May 17 to discuss the rehabilitation of the city's river and to create moves that will be undertaken by the local government, agencies, and stakeholders, in preparation for the coming rainy season.

Led by the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (PamCham), desilting of San Felipe Creek, which runs through Balimbing up to Federosa River, was the main highlight in the summit.

PamCham Chairman Emeritus Levy Laus said that “there is an urgent need to rehabilitate the creek for the safety of residents in the area.”

Volunteer flood czar Engineer Marni Castro said that the four-meter creek is heavily silted, and that it needs to be declogged as soon as possible because it is critical especially for the City of San Fernando and Sto. Tomas town.

“We have to haul out debris in the cut-off channel of the creek so that it will not clog the downstream. Desilting the creek will allow normal flow of the water especially when heavy rains start,” he said.

“We have the equipment from the DWPH [Department of Public Works and Highways], which is the amphibious excavator and water master to mobilize the clearing, but the problem is that we don’t have the fuel to operate these machineries,” he added.

It can be noted that both equipment will need 320 liters of diesel per day and will cost approximately P12,000 per day or P720,000 in a month.

The DPWH in Central Luzon said that funds for the fuel is still up for bidding and may take more than a month to be approved.

To hasten the clearing project, Vice Governor Dennis Pineda, who was also present during the meeting, then committed that the Provincial Government will shoulder the fuel costs of the creek rehabilitation.

“We should not delay this. We have to do interventions as early as now, so that it will not paralyze normal activities in the province,” Pineda said.

In the same meeting, Laus informed the officials that the private sector is concerned over an industrial complex on the rise in San Simon town.

“Last week, as we were conducting an aerial inspection of high-risk areas in the province, we saw a massive industrial construction somewhere in the Eastern side of NLEx [North Luzon Expressway]. We are requesting the DPWH to investigate the said project, and to figure out if there are vital waterways that have been disturbed by the construction,” he said.

“We should be prepared. As early as now, we should take immediate and effective action to prevent flooding that will greatly affect our province and the people of Pampanga. The chamber, together with our partners in the local government, will continuously seek for long-term solutions to this perennial problem,” Laus said.