6 years after 'Sendong', mega dike still on planning stage

THE construction of the P8.5-billion dike project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), assisted by Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), has yet to begin, six years after Tropical Storm Sendong wrecked havoc over Northern Mindanao.

Vinah Jeanne Maghinay, DPWH-Northern Mindanao spokesperson, said the Jica-funded mega dike is still on a stage of modification of alignment and detailed engineering design.

"Fini-fix ang alignment kung saan dadaan ang mega dike para less yung gagamitng fund for road right of way kasi kung maraming properties ang madadaanan, mahihirapan tayong mag implement nung mega dike na mabilis. Malalakihan tayo kasi syempre kailangang bayaran yung mga properties na madadaanan. Sa ngayon, on-going pa yung modification of alignment (The alignment where the mega dike will pass through is still being fixed so that the fund used for the road right of way will lessen. It will be difficult to start implementing the mega dike if there are more properties affected in the process. The budget of the project will increase since we need to pay those whose properties will be affected. So for now, the modification of alignment is still on-going)," Maghinay said.

A P2.9 billion was allocated by the National Government for land acquisition and house compensation cost for those affected by the construction of the mega dike.

Engineer Gil Iturralde of the DPWH's Flood Control Engineering Division said the construction stage of the mega dike will start in 2018 and will be completed by 2022.

Itturalde said the planning and detailed engineering design for the dike project took a long time to complete as various modification and components, such as social, environmental components, of the project are still being attended to.

Significant changes, Itturalde said, include the alignment, scope of works, design scale from 25 to 50 years and the overall project cost.

"Sa pagpa-plano nandun ang component na financial, kailangang may cost visible na project na pumasa sa hurdle ng Neda (National Economic and Development Authority). Sa downstream Bonbon area, yun ay mangrove area, ayon sa DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources), yun po ay protected area, (In the planning stage, there's the financial component wherein the project's cost is visible and will pass the hurdle rate of Neda. In the downstream Bonbon area, there's a mangrove area wherein the DENR labelled as protected area)," Itturalde said, adding that the dike will have to be built near the river.

The mega dike project, which is said to be the largest dike project in the history of Mindanao, was allocated with a budget of P8.549 billion, wherein P5 billion was provided by Jica while the remaining P3.54 billion came from the National Government.

The dike, according to Itturalde, will stretch at 12 kilometers, from Macajalar Bay until the whole of Cagayan River.

According to the conceptual plan of the Flood Risk Management Project for Cagayan River (FRMP-CR), the development of the master plan started in June 2011, six months before the Tropical Storm Sendong occurred.

Maghinay said adjustments to the master plan were made after the devastation brought by the deadliest storm that hit the city and killed hundreds of the city’s residents, affected more than 38,000 families and destroyed 12,000 houses in the villages near the river.

In March 2014, a preparatory survey for FRMP-CR was conducted to identify the priority work of the project, and a year after the Jica Loan Agreement was signed.

In November 2015, a request for proposal for detailed engineering consultancy services was made and in August 2016, the detailed engineering design commenced and will end in January 31, 2018.
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