Busted flood gate prompts probe of Bulacan dam
CITY OF MALOLOS –– One of the rubber gates of Bulacan’s Bustos Dam has been damaged, barely two years since the facility was repaired, prompting Vice Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado to call out for a comprehensive investigation.
In a privilege speech he gave when he joined the June 4 Provincial Board session via Zoom, Alvarado said the national government spent P1 billion to rehabilitate Bustos, which serves as a regulatory dam beneath Angat Dam. The repairs were conducted from 2016 to 2018.
Built in 1926, 94-year-old Bustos takes in water discharged from Angat, which is used for irrigation in 32,000 hectares of rice and vegetable farms in 17 Bulacan towns and four Pampanga towns.
All six flood gates were replaced, Alvarado said, but Gate No. 5 has deflated and had not been functioning since the first week of May based on a report of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).
NIA, which oversees Bustos Dam, promised to submit documents concerning the project in next week’s session, said Provincial Board secretary Perpetua Santos. The agency has yet to respond to queries from the Inquirer at posting time.
“May factory defect pala ang gawa sa China. Ang lumang pinalitan na rubber gates ay may tatak na Bridgestone,” the vice governor revealed.
(It turned out that the replacement gates from China have factory defects. They replaced rubber gates produced by leading tire company Bridgestone)
“Lumalabas na wala pang dalawang taon ay bumigay ang ang ika-5 rubber gate. Hindi kaya palatandaan ito ng kapabayaan sa quality control division ng NIA? Gross inexcusable negligence lalo’t mangangahulugan ito ng pagkaapekto sa maraming tao at kanilang kabuhayan,” Alvarado said.
(Gate No. 5 gave in in a matter of two years. Does this reflect the negligence of NIA’s quality control division? Was this gross inexcusable negligence since it affects the lives of many people?)
Damaged flood gates can trigger floods in low-lying Bulacan towns when NIA is unable to regulate water discharges if the dam breaches its 17.50-meter capacity.
“Paano kung sabay-sabay umimpis ang 6 rubber gates, 3,000 cms ang volume ng tubig na iluluwa ng dam at lilipulin ang mga tao at wawasakin ang kanilang kabahayan, pananim, at lahat ng kabuhayan ng mga taga Bustos, Plaridel, Pandi, Bocaue, Bulakan, Malolos, Calumpit, at Hagonoy,” Alvarado said.
(What would happen if all six gates fail to work? As much as 3,000 cubic meters of water would spill towards the towns of Bustos, Plaridel, Pandi, Bocaue, Bulakan, Calumpit and Hagonoy, and the City of Malolos.)
When Gate No. 5 was damaged, the elevation at Bustos Dam was 14.8 meters.
Alvarado said he was alarmed that NIA failed to meet its May 15 deadline to repair the gate due to leaks.
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