Barili’s leaders do their best to save falls

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Monday, July 16, 2012


LOCAL officials of the town of Barili, Cebu found a way to divert water back to the Mantayupan Falls, bypassing a sinkhole that had forced the falls to dry up.

As of 3 p.m. Saturday, Mantayupan was flowing again.

Barili Mayor Teresito Mariñas said they built a diversion canal to direct water from the sinkhole to the river that flows to the waterfalls.

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The sinkhole, which is 10 meters away from the river, was also sandbagged with the help of residents nearby.

Barili town officials met last Friday to solve the problem that threatened their farms and tourism industry.

Present during the meeting were the captains of the barangays close to the falls (Mantayupan, Nasipit, and Campanga), farmers’ associations, municipal planning engineer, National Irrigation Administration and geologist Abraham Lucero of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.

Slab

Mariñas said the rechanneling is a temporary solution and that they will look into the feasibility of building a concrete slab to cover the sinkhole.

Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale told Sun.Star they will talk about Mantayupan Falls during their caucus ahead of today’s Provincial Board session.

What happened to Mantayupan was a great loss not only for tourism but also for the town’s farmers, she said.

In contrast to what happened to Mantayupan, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia welcomed a report that the Kawasan Falls of Badian, Cebu was featured as one of the beautiful waterfalls around the world on the travelandleisure.com website.

“To be counted as one among such a prestigious membership really brings great pride to Cebu,” Garcia said.

Falls

Also featured were Iguazu Falls in Brazil; Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park, California; Snoqualmie Falls, Washington; Chasing Waterfalls in Seljalandsfoss, Iceland; Devil’s Punchbowl in South Island, New Zealand; Jungfrau Falls in Interlaken, Switzerland; Lower Falls in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming United States; Fallingwater in Mill Run, Pennsylvania; and Jägala Falls in Estonia.

Garcia, who visited Brazil last year and saw the Iguazu Falls, described it as a breathtaking scene.

Last April 16, the governor led the demolition of illegal structures on the riverbanks of Kawasan Falls. The zone within 20 meters of the riverbank is supposed to be free of any construction.

Garcia said she will soon meet again with stakeholders, the local government and the Department of Tourism to talk about ways how to preserve Kawasan Falls.

She expressed the hope that people would not destroy these places that bring pride to Cebu, just for the sake of crass commercialization.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 16, 2012.

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