By Leonardo Micua
MAYOR Belen Fernandez was proven right by our PUNCH story ”Dagupan affected by one-meter sea rise—UP prof” on March 17 issue when she said that the flooding in Dagupan last year was mainly due to prolonged monsoon rains, caused by climate change and not by negligence in governance.
Dr. Ebinezer R. Florano, associate professor of Public Administration of UP’s National College of Public Administration and Governance and author of several books about climate change, said that global warming which is causing glaciers in the Arctic region near North Pole to melt fast, is causing the sea to widen and rise by one meter.
He confirmed that the one-meter rise in sea water level has already penetrated areas in Pangasinan, especially Dagupan which has an elevation reportedly of already one meter below sea level.
Note that tidal water in the coastal areas back flowing into the streets and residential and commercial areas through the drainage canals connected to the river system is already much higher than it was five, 10 and 20 years ago. (Lingayen is not as seriously affected as Dagupan because the capital town is a bit higher than the latter).
With the level of sea water now higher by one meter, water rushing from upstream as a result of heavy rains can’t be expected to easily exit to the Lingayen Gulf, especially on a high tide.
Ironically, Mayor Belen is being blamed by ignorant trolls (who pollute the social media now that election is approaching) for the floods that hit Dagupan last year because she allegedly allowed the backfilling of fishponds and elevated roads, interior streets and school campuses.
On the contrary, that was the right thing. Backfilling is really the solution to the flooding caused by the rising sea level.
According to my friend Francisco Tamayo, aka Macky Delgado, backfilling was recommended in a study conducted by UP Planades during the time of then Mayor Benjie Lim, which his administration funded for P1-M but which he failed to implement during his nine-year reign.
He wondered if Brian, the captain of LiFe, bothered to read the UP Planades paper before raising flooding issue against Super Mayor Belen?
Florano’s presentation in that forum indicated that water level could rise by three meters as the ice glaciers in the Arctic region still continue to melt, and by six meters if all the glaciers are gone.
That means the worst is yet to come for all of us because of the intensified global warning in our planet Earth which is now affecting us.
* * * *
In her State of the City Address, Mayor Belen praised all councilors for their support to her programs and projects, except one who played the role of an obstructionist.
There was evidently a plot by a small group to disrupt and embarrass Belen during her SOCA as one councilor was wearing an undershirt that read “I am not for sale” implying that those who support the mayor are paid and bought. What gall!
The mayor mentioned the vehicular accident along the Jose de Venecia Expressway two weeks ago that left four people dead, two of them children, and another two injured.
What was reportedly despicable in that incident was to see two city officials inside the van that figured in the smash up, leave the scene in haste without bothering to call the police, the POSO or the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.
She said it was the passing motorists that called the police, not by any of those who were suspected to have caused the accident. Anyway, we were informed that the P50,000 (financial assistance) being given by the two for the victims, was turned down by the family of the deceased out of deep resentment.
It was Super Belen, we were told, who covered the costs of the coffins and other expenses incurred by the bereaved family owing to the accident.
Why did Belen raise this in her SOCA? I am sure it was not because the van involved is owned by the Magic Group of Companies but because she wanted to stress that Dagupan is a city of discipline where public safety is its number one concern.
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