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Laguna gov on flood control project: ‘Finally’

By: - Correspondent / @maricarcincoINQ
/ 11:17 PM August 17, 2012

SAN PEDRO, Laguna—Laguna Gov. Jeorge “ER” Ejercito, who earlier favored the dredging of Laguna de Bay, welcomed the planned construction of a 7.2-kilometer underground spillway to pump out excess water from the heavily silted lake.

“Finally, a permanent solution to the flooding,” he said.

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Ejercito noted how during the times the lake overflowed, widespread flood resulted in several lakeshore towns and cities.

He said even if it was not listed in the P352-billion flood control master plan of the Department of Public Works and Highways, the spillway is also a “priority” project of the national government to address the perennial flooding.

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The spillway is different from the ring-road dike to be built along Laguna de Bay that President Aquino had announced during his visit to evacuation centers in Marikina, Quezon City, Valenzuela and Navotas last week.

“After Tropical Storm ‘Gener,’ I had a meeting with [Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA)] General Manager [Nereus] Acosta. He said the project will begin sa lalong madaling panahon (soon),” Ejercito said.

Acosta is the presidential adviser on environmental protection and LLDA general manager.

Ejercito said the underground spillway from Laguna de Bay would run through Muntinlupa City, Sucat and run up to Manila Bay.

He said the spillway project would cost P5 billion and would be funded with a grant from the South Korean government.

Based on his meeting with Acosta, “the construction will be completed in two years or before President Aquino’s term is up,” Ejercito said in a phone interview on Wednesday.

He said the specifics of the project, such as the volume of water the spillway would pump out, would be discussed in their future meetings.

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Rizal Vice Gov. Frisco San Juan Jr. said he “personally” thought the project would be beneficial although they have not yet fully discussed the details in the provincial government.

Laguna and Rizal provinces share portions of the 90,000-hectare Laguna lake.

The lake’s water level stayed at 13.86 meters as of Thursday morning, a little less than the 13.95 meter-water level during Tropical Storm “Ondoy” in 2009.

The provincial and regional Disaster Risk Reduction and  Management Council on Friday reported 17,190 families inside the evacuation centers in Laguna and around 12,000 families in Rizal.

In an interview on Wednesday, Roseller Gabinete, officer of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development, said their latest records showed 299,209 persons continued to be affected by floodwaters in 171 barangays in Laguna.

In Rizal, still submerged in flood were Montalban, San Mateo, Cainta, Pililia and Angono, said a report from its provincial government on Wednesday. With a report from Romulo Ponte, Inquirer Southern Luzon

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TAGS: Flood, Jeorge “ER” Ejercito, Laguna
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