Looking through Marni Castro’s Window-A A +A
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
THE past weeks saw how resolve can be stretched beyond thresholds with the aftermath of Habagat, one of the worst ever disasters in our history, causing enormous anxiety and, in some parts, panic.
Residents of San Fernando, those in Cutud being the hardest hit, Sto. Tomas and Minalin, saw waters rise in an instant forcing many to find higher ground, but only to realize there were none. What happened caught everyone unawares since flooding in the areas goes down as quickly as it comes and never has it risen that much. So what happened?
Incessant rains, despite no storm over our skies, caused so much water to go downstream thru the Gugu channel. This channel is but a creek, unlike the heavily-silted and regretfully inutile Pasig-Potrero River, thus can only contain so much of what is rampaging ahead. As waters forcibly find level to drain, it destroys everything in its path; hastily at that.
With siltation and heavy vegetation blocking its original path towards the Third River via the Minalin portion, waters needed to find a more convenient route. Over-tapping the Cutud (CSF) portion, waters gradually weakened the spot and eventually breached its concrete barrier causing heavy flooding in the City of San Fernando, Sto. Tomas and Minalin.
Pictures of the breached dike present an image of insecurity, especially for those still flooded since water continues to go down to that accidental passage even with a slight drizzle.
Though lesser in magnitude compared to the Pinatubo eruption, the consequences of Habagat nonetheless elicited the same apprehensions as both turbulent times compelled us to second guess what’s in store for us should something of their kind hit us again.
Fortunately, however, in both turbulent times, we also found amongst us some brave souls who, despite the obvious risks, stepped up to make a difference. Provincial leaders, mayors, barangay leaders, health and social workers, soldiers, policemen and civilians deserve all the praises.
And then there is PamCham’s Engr. Marni Castro -- yes he is the same Marni who braved hell and high water post-Pinatubo rehabilitation -- one of those who just as quickly went out to chip those ideas in. Marni, acquaintances call him Lolo, (age dictate some monikers) scouted almost every detail of the Gugu creek if only to find other paths to re-channel the waters to free the breached portion of the dike and allow for rehabilitation.
Marni’s reasoning is rather simple; no one can tell if time is on our side, but if it gives us that, then we might as well do every means possible. This view is shared by CarWorld’s Levi Laus, Marni’s too close a friend. The breached portion requires immediate repair to put a halt to waters coming in and to avoid future disasters from happening.
I agree with Marni. If this weather, relatively sane though fickle-minded at times, is but any indication, then we might just have been given some room to prep up for all eventualities.
And thanks to some rather passionate enlightenment, persuasion to be precise, from Mayor Katoy Naguit of Minalin, dredging and widening works are now being done to re-channel waters traversing Gugu to the Minalin portion of the Tail Dike and go its usual path towards the bay thru the Guagua River.
The Governor, that’s Nanay Pineda of course, has deployed the Capitol’s newly-acquired backhoe to do the lead, even as two others from Macabebe and Minalin are presently doing their stuff to clear the passage from heavy silt. Last I heard the Quarry Operators’ group will be sending equipments too to help expedite the clearing operations.
Tough times call for tough people and I guess strange opportunities indeed pull out the best in us. At least, even in these trying times, we still find those willing to sacrifice for our sakes.
Let’s all pray Marni’s window remains open to give us that much needed time to liberate our lands from nature’s wrath.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on August 29, 2012.