Disaster council wants Panay River Basin project fast-tracked

MEMBERS of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) saw the need to fast-track the implementation of the Panay River Basin Development Project to address the flooding problem in Capiz.

The council during emergency meeting on January 10 passed a resolution urging the fast-tracking of the project by phases following a briefing by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) about the status of the P19.785-billion proposed project.

The project when realized will not only address the “perennial flooding” but will also serve as source hydroelectric power and irrigation system.

The first feasibility study of the project undertaken by the Japan International Cooperation Agency in 1985 focused on the flood control aspect of the basin development plan, said Danielle P. Pijuan of NIA-Western Visayas in her report to the RDRRMC.

However, the Regional Development Council in a resolution passed in 2012 recommended the updating of the flood control study.

The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) recommended that a “holistic integrated development approach will be used.”

In March last year, the Regional Development Council endorsed the project to Neda.

The project, when realized, will not only “significantly reduce flooding” in the sub-basins of the Panay River but will also provide year-round supply of water to 26,800 hectares in Capiz and Iloilo, benefiting 25,046 farmers.

It will also allocate three cubic meters of bulk water supply in Roxas City and neighboring towns and augment 15.6 megawatts of hydro-electric power to the host province.

Pijuan said that on Thursday, 200 members of the Indigenous Peoples (IP) from Tapaz, Capiz, who have been affected by the project, will attend the feasibility study validation activity and give their permission to NIA to proceed with the detailed engineering design of the project.

The high dam of the billion-peso project will be constructed in Barangay Acuña, while the after bay dam will be in Barangay Garcia, both IP areas in Tapaz.

Director Jose Robert R. Nuñez, RDRRMC chair, echoed the sentiment of Civil Defense Administrator Ricardo Jalad, who cited the significance of the project during their New Year’s call on January 9.

The flooding due to heavy rains induced by Tropical Depression Agaton in Capiz has affected 159 barangays from 12 municipalities of the province and displaced some 1,482 families. (PNA)
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