MASANTOL --- In line with the ongoing battle of this municipality against the demolition of fishpens by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), local officials and residents here have agreed to file a temporary restraining order (TRO) in the proper court to stop further damage brought by the said project.
This was disclosed by Mayor Danilo S. Guintu following the protest staged by his constituents to show opposition to the project which reportedly damages the stability of the Pampanga Delta Dike.
According to Guintu, officials of DPWH Region III have been neglecting their call for a meeting to discuss the effects of the scheme on the lives and livelihood of residents and to raise possible alternative solutions.
"Halos isang taon na kaming nakikipag-usap sa kanila pero ipinipilit nila yung kanila. Syempre mas alam ng mga tao na nakatira doon, umulan at bumagyo nakikita nila yung galaw ng tubig kesa sa kanila na nandoon lang sa opisina at gumagawa ng proyekto," he said.
Guintu explained that he is not against the demolition of fishponds as it is imposed by the mandamus of the Supreme Court but stressed that certain issues concerning the security of the municipality must be discussed.
"In the first place, hindi naman ito dumaan sa public consultation kaya hindi rin namin nai-raise ang mga concerns namin. Ngayon kami kumakalampag kami sa kanila kasi nakikita at nararamdaman na yung epekto ng ginawa nila. Sana sila rin lumabas para makita nila," he said.
The mayor stressed that widening of the Pampanga River at the downstream is not needed since water is free-flowing and problem is at the boundary of Apalit town where a portion of the river is too tight and obstructs the flow of water.
He noted that dredging is more applicable since the river has become shallow due to the down flow of silt and sediments from Mt. Pinatubo.
"Hindi namin kami tutol kung nasa tama lang. Ang sa amin lang magusap-usap. Bigyan muna ng protection yung dike, lagyan ng sheet pile portion by portion tapos doon maggiba kasi sayang yung mga proyekto," he stressed.
Guintu added that legal action is already needed to intervene with the issue and the TRO will serve as protection of the municipality while talks between two camps is being pursued.
He stressed that the municipality, under his leadership, will continue to fight for their rights and protect their town from any possible destruction.
"Ipaglalaban namin ito, kasama ang aking mga kababayan. Hindi kami papayag na ituloy yung paggiba ng walang pag-uusap dahil hindi lang ang bayan ng Masantol ang pwedeng mawawala sa mapa kundi ang buong Pampanga," he said.
"Tinitiyak ko sa kanila, kapag hindi nila kami pinakinggan, mabubutas yang dike. Babaha ang buong Pampanga at masasayang lahat ng efforts ng gobyerno para maresolba ang pagbaha sa atin," he lamented.
The mayor added that he already sought the assistance of Governor Lilia Pineda who reportedly vowed to intervene and talk with DPWH officials regarding the matter.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on September 27, 2016.
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