MBTF directs DPWH to remove Pugaro sandbars

THE dredging of the mouth of the Calmay River will be sought by Dagupan City Mayor Belen Fernandez when she meets with officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

She said she has requested for an emergency meeting to reiterate the need to dredge the mouth of the Calmay River to allow faster flow of water from the uplands to the Lingayen Gulf.

She said the DPWH sent three dredging machines to Dagupan but only two are serviceable because its big dredging machine had broken down months ago.

It is the DPWH that is tasked to dredge all rivers to prevent floods during the rainy season, she added.

Unfortunately, it is only the bigger dredging machine that can be employed to dredge the mouth of the river, the mayor said, adding that the other two can not operate in the mouth of the Calmay River being too deep.

Dredging on one side of the Calmay river is continuing with the two smaller dredging machines made available by DPWH, including one long back hoe owned by the Dagupan City government.

The mayor said she will ask the DPWH to speed up the repair of its big dredging machine in Dagupan to be deployed for the dredging of the heavily silted mouth of the Calmay River.

The effort already removed thousands if not millions of cubic meters of silt from the Calmay River where the water of the Pantal River flows before it drains to the Lingayen Gulf.

There have been suspicions that floodwaters could not easily exit to the Lingayen Gulf because of the sand bars that had formed at the mouth of the Calmay River.

She clarified that the sandbars referred to are actually the extension of the land that the past city administration had planned on to build the foundation of the man-made tsunami hill.

The project was discontinued by Fernandez as soon as she took over as mayor.

“When I was the city vice mayor, I was against the construction of a man-made tsunami hill in Barangay Pugaro not only because it may block the flow of water to the Lingayen Gulf but also because it is positioned very close to the sea,” Fernandez said.

Although the concrete foundation of the structure was already built, it was not allowed by Fernandez to resume construction.

Many said that during summer, one can walk from Barangay Pugaro to Bonuan Gueset through this sandbar.

Mayor Fernandez confirmed that more silt was deposited at the mouth of the Calmay River because of the flood caused by the recent prolonged monsoon rains. (Leonardo Micua)

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