Homeowners protest DPWH dike on baywalk

BINMALEY—Residents, home and resort owners along the coastal road or baywalk along Barangay Buenlag are up in arms over the ongoing construction of a dike or protection wall which they said, will not only obstruct the view of the sea but will impair access of residents and tourists to the beach as well.

The home. lot and resort owners led by Engr. Mac Arthur Samson, Atty. Julito Vitriolo, Engr. Marshall Correau, and Atty. Alvin Fernandez, all of Binmaley, sent their petition to Engr. Ronnel M. Tan, OIC Regional Director of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DWH), Region 1 as early as November 12, last year.

Copies of the petition were sent to Second District Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil, Governor Amado Espino III, Fifth District Rep. Amado Espino Jr., Binmaley Mayor Simplicio Rosario and 2nd Pangasinan Engineering District Officer-in-Charge Edita Manuel.

In his separate letter to Manuel dated November 14, 2018, Samson, president of the University of Luzon in Dagupan City, sought the immediate suspension of the construction of the dike pending a dialogue with affected parties.

The petitioners are strongly protesting the construction of the dike as it will not only cover the view of the beach from the baywalk and impair residents ‘and tourists’ to the beach but will pose danger to the beach-goers, especially to the young and elderly who cannot scale the dike, they said.

Photos of the structure forwarded to The PUNCH showed it is about 5 meters high.

The petitioners also cited the difficulty of fisherfolks to access the sea and will affect their livelihood once the dike is completed.

They added that the dike will also prevent residents and tourists with water sports equipment, i.e., jet skis, boats, surfing facilities to access the beach.

“While we are one with the idea of protecting the baywalk, it must, however, be a well-balanced approach such that the majesty of the beach, a God-given gift and a natural resource for all to enjoy, must also be considered,” the petitioners said.

Bataoil, who initiated the baywalk as an eco-tourism project, conferred with DPWH Regional Director Tan, said he was told that the construction of the dike is necessary to ensure the stability of the baywalk’s foundation from being eroded by big sea waves but will consider to reduce the height of the dike.

The petitioners said the envisioned tourism potentials of baywalk and of the beautiful beaches of the Lingayen Gulf must be preserved and developed instead of negating these by constructing the dike.

‘We believe, a proper consideration of the stakes involved and further consultation with concerned agencies and stakeholders will result in an enlightened discussion and definite proposals for more appropriate interventions towards coastal protection can be generated,” the petitioners said.

To date, the baywalk, which extends from Lingayen to Binmaley, has become a regular venue for joggers and as an alternate route for light vehicles traversing the highway from Lingayen to Binmaley. (Leonardo Micua)

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