City to adopt “Build-Up” strategy

FOR IMPROVED RESILIENCY

A “BUILD-UP” strategy for Dagupan City may well be adopted by the city government to further reinforce the city’s resilience and flood mitigation measures.

This proposed direction was reached after the city government met with engineers, architects and representatives of Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), and the Dagupan City Water District last week for an initial discussion on what holds for the city’s future amid the climate change and development plans for the city’s economy.

The meeting was convened by City Mayor Belen Fernandez after the series of flooding in the city last month that raised serious concerns over its long-term flood and disaster mitigation measures.

Several ideas and proposals were submitted after Mayor Fernandez gave an update on the infrastructure programs and ongoing projects particularly flood mitigation measures and the new issues that need to be addressed.

Members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) who attended the meeting were Councilors Joey Tamayo, Dennis Canto, Jeslito Seen and Liga ng mga Barangay President Dean Bryan Kua. Also in attendance were the city department heads headed by City Administrator Atty. Farah Decano.

Chief Meteorological Officer Jose Estrada, Jr. of PAGASA Dagupan gave his agency’s evaluation of recent global and local weather conditions, and the data culled from the recent flooding in the city. He reiterated the finding that an equivalent volume of six months of rain was experienced in the city in a span of just a few days that resulted in the extreme inundation in the city and in many parts in the province in the last 5 weeks.

Engr. John Zamora of the Local Zoning Board of Appeals (LZBA) of Dagupan and Dean of the College of Engineering in University of Pangasinan (UPang), presented studies that affirmed the crucial role of road lifeline during natural disaster rescue operations.

Zamora said the ongoing road elevations in the city are critical in the progress of a city since it enables the local economy to continue to operate by allowing continued access around the city. He commended the city government for its foresight in pursuing its numerous road elevation projects.

“Having elevated roads is crucial in Dagupan City so that there will be a continuous flow of activity. Whenever there is flooding, roads should be accessible to give way for rescue operations,” said Zamora.

Arch. Melchor Serapion of the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) – Pangasinan-Dagupan Chapter discussed various basic designs of resilient and innovative structures that could serve as standard requirements in the city when constructing buildings.

Serapion cited the growing man-to-land ratio that necessitates development of plans that focus on vertical construction of vertical build up projects in the city and to adapt to expected occurrences of storm surges and possibly tsunami.

General Manager Engr. Adelfo Valle of the Dagupan City Water District discussed the plans for water reservoir projects and septage management.

Dr. Andreas Kippe of Flood Control Asia discussed successful disaster mitigating measures adopted in other areas that could be replicated and improved on in the city.

In her closing remarks, Mayor Fernandez, acknowledged the significance of the implementation of the “build up” strategy in the city.

“With the flooding being a problem in Dagupan and all nearby towns, we want to make sure that land owners will not lose their investments once they build houses or buildings. We also want to ensure that all developers will comply with the build-up strategy that we would like to implement for everyone, as the city government continues with its “build up” activities with roads and drainage and other projects,” said Fernandez. (With report from CIO/VDV)

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