TARLAC CITY -- Mayor Gelacio "Ace" Manalang led the massive clean-up drive of the Masalasa Creek over the weekend as part of the City Government's preparation for the coming rainy season.

The creek is the main artery of the flood control in the interior of the city.

More than 200 volunteers and concerned citizens answered the call of the mayor to clean the creek and its surroundings.

Before the clean up drive, Manalang ordered the City Engineering and the City Administration offices to clear the area of some 300 informal settlers who put up houses and structures in the area.

"Can you imagine the trash that these informal settlers contribute to the clogging of the Masalasa Creek? We are doing this clean up drive so that the rain water can flow out freely to the Chico River. If water will be stopped here at the creek it will overflow and it will flood the whole city," Manalang said.

He said they have learned their lessons well when Typhoon Ondoy, Quedan, Pablo, Santi and Yolanda hit Tarlac and flooded the city. He said he does not want the city caught flat-footed during the onset of the rainy season this year.

Manalang, however, lamented that the Department of Public Works and Highways did not send the equipment he requested to speed up the job.

He also pointed out the giant steel billboard that poses danger to motorists along MacArthur Highway, which should be taken down, but is still subject of a legal battle.

Manalang also said that the City Council will pass a resolution geared towards rehabilitating the "dead creeks" in Tarlac so that the people will be assured that Tarlac City will be flood-free. (Homer Teodoro)