A disaster that’s slowly creeping in Pampanga village
MASANTOL, Pampanga—Typhoons and heavy rains in the last six years destroyed the earth dikes of more than 1,000 hectares of fishponds dotting the mouth of Pampanga River up to Barangay Sapang Kawayan here, an official said.
This left the village with only 10 kilometers of dikes protecting it from waves, wind and floods and exposing 3,129 residents to danger, said village chief Paquito Ducut.
Because it is costly to haul soil to rebuild the dikes or refill these, businessmen have resorted to building fish cages where nets are instead used to grow fish. The downside is that there are no dikes to prevent pollution from the operation of the cages, Ducut said.
Remnants of dikes, including bamboo poles and levees, jut out of the water on the southern side of the delta, revealed by the low tide. The remaining dikes, on the other hand, are in Sitio Kuatro and Aurora, enclosing some 100 ha of ponds.
To protect the dikes from crumbling, pond owners have fortified the outer walls by covering these with used tarpaulin, nets, sacks, sandbags or boulders that are held together by bamboo poles, a check by the Inquirer on Monday showed. Others built concrete retaining walls.
“We will be the next to be washed out,” Ducut said.
Old residents said the place used to be called by other names, such as Alakan and Tabugan, because liquor and wine were produced here.
Mangrove patches on the coast, which is some 3 km to the village, are too thin to withstand strong winds and severe floods inland, Ducut said.
Many residents have resorted to cutting mangroves for firewood.
If Sapang Kawayan is swamped by floods, the hazard extends to the adjacent villages of Nigui, Sagrada Familia, Bagang, Balibago, and Alauli in Masantol town and Candelaria in Macabebe town, said former Vice Mayor Marcelo Lacap Jr.
Lacap said the threat exists not only due to the changing environment at the coast but also because Sapang Kawayan is the gateway to Manila Bay and is in the boundary of Hagonoy, Bulacan. That means it takes in much of the water, waves and wind, he said. Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon