DPWH halts P884 million Borongan seawall project

DPWH halts P884 million Borongan seawall project

/ 05:06 AM April 19, 2024

DPWH halts P884-M Borongan seawall project

SHELVED A seawall has been proposed to be built in this section of Barangay Lalawigan, Borongan City, by the Department of Public Works and Highways. The agency, however, suspended the project after residents and local officials criticized it. —PHOTO COURTESY OF BORONGAN CITY INFORMATION OFFICE

TACLOBAN CITY — The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has suspended the construction of a seawall at a coastal village in Borongan City in Eastern Samar in the wake of opposition from its residents and mayor.

Edgar Tabacon, DPWH director for the Eastern Visayas region, said he had already directed the contractor to stop the P884-million project that was criticized by Mayor Jose Ivan Dayan Agda and residents of Barangay Lalawigan, a coastal village that is frequented by surfers due to its huge waves.


READ: Borongan strengthens resolve to protect environment


“For now, we have verbally instructed the contractor to halt construction temporarily. Subsequently, we will conduct a public consultation to determine the new alignment for the project,” Tabacon said.

Agda as well as residents and officials of Barangay Lalawigan, located about 2 kilometers from the city center, raised concerns over the project, saying this could affect the livelihood of fisherfolk in the area as well as destroy its marine resources, like corals.

The seawall, which is about a kilometer long, could also affect communities on nearby Divinubo Island, where motorboats are docked.

“While we are happy with the decision of the DPWH, this is just a small victory as the project’s design appears to be a reclamation and not just a [seawall],” Agda said.


The mayor earlier said that he did not ask the DPWH to build the seawall in the village, noting that he was surprised to learn about the project, which the agency claimed was necessary to prevent storm surges.

According to Agda, the village, which faces the Pacific Ocean, has never been hit by a storm surge, even when Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) devastated Eastern Visayas in 2013.


A nearby sandbar, he said, has been protecting the local community from storm surges.

The huge waves off Barangay Lalawigan can be a tourism magnet, as these are ideal for water sports, local officials said.

Agda said that while the seawall project was aimed at protecting the lives and properties of villagers, its construction would damage or destroy local beaches and corals.

“The reef system is our best defense against calamities, having recently discovered that corals are present even beyond the shoreline,” he said.

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City officials and residents were surprised when steel bars were laid down on the project site last March, signaling the start of the construction.

TAGS: Borongan, DPWH, seawall

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