DPWH to give priority to Pampanga dike repairPhilippine Daily Inquirer
MINALIN, Pampanga—The Department of Public Works and Highways will rush repairs on two breached sections of the San Fernando-Sto. Tomas-Minalin tail dike as soon as weather conditions allow the agency to move equipment and workers to the site, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson said here on Friday.
“Funds are no problem to us. We just need the proper time to do it,” Singson told the Inquirer.
Two portions of the 9.6-km dike—70 meters in Barangay San Pedro Cutud in San Fernando City and 50 meters in Barangay San Vicente in Sto. Tomas town—crumbled at the height of monsoon rains on Aug. 7, according to Antonio Molano Jr., DPWH director in Central Luzon.
The breaching there was the first to occur in 15 years since the tail dike was built below the FVR Megadike. It caused floodwaters to rise by 7-10 feet in southeastern San Fernando and Sto. Tomas and by 4-6 feet in Minalin town.
San Fernando Mayor Oscar Rodriguez warned that the three areas are bound to suffer the fate of Bacolor town since the water flowing from the Gugu River carried lahar to the tail dike.
Further flooding toward San Jose threatens the North Luzon Expressway, he said.
Plugging the leaking dike would cost P25 million while the rechanneling of the Gugu River toward San Francisco and Labuan rivers would amount to P245 million, Molano said.
The DPWH also plans to strengthen Spillways 1 and 3 beside the transverse dike inside the FVR Megadike and build a diversion channel toward the Pasig-Potrero River.
All projects would cost a total of P832 million. Asked if the DPWH has the funds, Singson said: “We will have to program everything. It’s all a matter of scheduling … The priority for now is the repair of the tail dike.”
Floods bring blessings, too. On Saturday, a kilogram of tilapia fetched only P10-15. Small crabs sold for P50 a piece. Menfolk had a heyday fishing on top of dikes or bridges.
During his inspection of the flooded areas on Friday, Mr. Aquino said he has appointed Singson as water czar to coordinate the projects of numerous water regulatory agencies like the Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System and the Local Water Utilities Administration.
“There are so many water regulatory agencies and they all address water issues at the same time without talking. We want someone to orchestrate these actions so we can all work to curb floods,” the President said.
Mr. Aquino also said that the P5.7-billion Angat Dam rehabilitation and remediation project is already approved. “The plans are complete. We can start work there,” he said.
Water levels at the Angat Dam continued to rise, from 213 meters above sea level on Friday evening to 214 masl as of 11 a.m. Saturday. The dam’s spilling level is 210 masl but its reservoir capacity can hold as much as 217 masl of water in the meantime, according to the provincial disaster risk reduction and management council.
Flooding has subsided in most parts of Bulacan, except for some villages in Malolos City, San Miguel, Hagonoy and Obando towns due to river discharges from Pampanga and Nueva Ecija.
The bodies of two boys, both drowning victims, were recovered in San Jose del Monte City on Saturday. Tonette Orejas and Carmela Reyes-Estrope, Inquirer Central Luzon