ROSALES -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Wednesday inspected the restored portion of the Agno River earth dike at Barangay Carmen East here.

She was welcomed by Governor Amado Espino Jr., sixth district Representative Conrado Estrella III, Rosales Mayor Ricardo Revita, and Abono Party-list Chairman Rosendo So.

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A total of about 2.7 kilometers of the river’s earth dike was breached by the water released by San Roque dam at the height of Typhoon Pepeng last October.

San Roque dam released a volume of 5,300 cubic meter per second of water, way above the more than 3,000 per cubic meter carrying capacity of the Agno River.

The earth dike at Barangay Carmen East was the worst damaged portion. The other areas are in Villasis, Sto. Tomas, and Bayambang towns.

Engineer Philip Menez, outgoing Agno Flood Control System OIC project manager, briefed President Arroyo on their accomplishments in connection with the rehabilitation/reconstruction works, as well as, the Agno River System project which started several years ago.

Arroyo announced the groundbreaking done earlier in Rosario, La Union for the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union expressway.

She said the project will be finished in two years. But the President wants the people to know that it started during his term.

Engineer Roy Manao, successor of Menez, said the reconstruction of the earth dikes were done by several contractors “at their own risk” as there is the budget is not available yet.

The rehabilitation/restoration works cost more than P80 million.

“Utang pa yon dahil wala pang pondo,” he explained.

Mayor Ricardo Revita said if he is to ask one specific request to the President, then that is for the construction of a permanent (concrete or gabion) dike to prevent the repetition of the destruction.

Same sentiment was voiced out by one resident of Barangay Carmen East who spoke in front of the President Arroyo during the briefing presentation.

Thanking Arroyo for the repairs done at their place, “sana makongreto po ang dike namin”, the resident said.

Earlier in the morning, Arroyo, together with Secretary Hermogenes Esperon Jr. of the Presidential Management Staff, flew to Ilocos Norte.

Arroyo inaugurated the Sarrat bridge in Sarrat, Ilocos Norte; launched the PGMA projects on modernizing agriculture in Region I, Teatro Ilocandia, Mariano Marcos State University in Batac, Ilocos Norte; and the groundbreaking of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union expressway project (TPLEX) at Barangay Subusub, Rosario, La Union.