DPWH mulling to dredge rivers in Zambales after death of over 20 people-A A +A
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
THE Aquino administration, through the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), is now planning to hire a private company to dredge rivers in Zambales province following the death of over 20 people due to landslides brought by massive flooding.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte, in a news briefing on Tuesday, however, refused to say who would be responsible for the tragedy in Central Luzon after the local officials there blamed the National Government for failure to dredge and desilt the rivers, which overflowed due to non-stop rain during the past days.
"At this time, we're not inclined to engage in finger-pointing, given that there are still 69,747 people that are currently not under normal circumstances because of the habagat," she said.
She added that the government would rather focus first in assisting the displaced families and to discuss the accountability later.
Valte said that she got information from the DPWH that a dredger was on standby in Olongapo.
"But it has not been operational since August of 2011 because there is a certain part –it's called a converter module, that's damaged. It's not working because of that and there are no available parts in the market," she said.
This was the reason why Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson was considering of contracting out the dredging of Calaclan River and other rivers in Zambales to a private company, she said.
Aside from dredging the rivers, Valte said the DPWH also plans to widen waterways to address the massive flooding.
"It's not just the dredging that is the solution. Maybe the knee-jerk solution to any siltation in a river would be desiltation and dredging. But, as what always Secretary Singson says, widening also of the waterways is needed," Valte said.
"And, normally, the widening is hampered by the presence of some structures along those rivers—or, at least, in this particular river—and the DPWH is dependent also on the local government to help in clearing the structures along the waterways," she said. (SDR/Sunnex)