Flooding already a non-issue
By Leonardo Micua
JUST as we were about to start writing this piece, we received an email from the City Information Office announcing that an amphibious excavator machine mounted on a barge from the Department of Public Works and Highways has arrived in Dagupan City to boost the dredging of our shallow rivers.
This is a very important development because flooding is a major issue being raised in this election against Mayor Belen T. Fernandez, being made to appear that she is not doing enough about the problem. The barge is already the fourth dredging machine sent to Dagupan by the DPWH since 2013 in response to her requests.
The amphibious excavator, the same machine being used today in the rehabilitation of Manila Bay, will complement the work of three other machines–the Watermaster, the Dredge Visayas I and the 8-2 dredger–deployed to the city six years ago to unclog the city rivers from silt and sediments.
So you see, Dagupan no longer need to buy its own dredging machine just like what the Lim administration did. Worse, his administration bought a reconditioned equipment passed off as brand new for P40 million that was no longer serviceable after three years.
To further complement the work of the three dredging machines, the city government bought a long-armed backhoe and a small-size backhoe specifically dedicated to dredging sides of rivers as well as small rivers and creeks upstream.
For the information of Mayor Belen’s bashers on radio and social media, a total of 122,000 cubic meters of silt was already removed from the city’s river system since dredging began six years ago at the instance of Mayor Belen.
Bernie Valencerina, DPWH Area Equipment Engineer, said that the huge volume of silt removed from our rivers could fill at least 50 Olympic-size swimming pools. Wow!
By the way, the sediment being recovered from these simultaneous dredging operations at no cost to the city government, are available free to Dagupeños as filling materials in their low-lying communities upon request.
According to DPWH, there are yet more dredging works left to be done as 10 million more cubic meters of silt remained in the rivers. All the dredging activities belie the claims of Belen’s troll bashers has she has not done anything to abate the floods in Dagupan.
In sharp contrast, her opponent, Brian, apparently is not aware of the efforts in the city because he keeps promising to address the flooding in the city as if nothing has been done at all. If Belen had not done anything, flooding in the city could have been far worse.
Belen also credits the non-stop help from Cong. Christopher de Venecia and her mother former Cong. Gina de Venecia for the efforts.
Fortunately, Dagupeños are aware what Belen has been doing and mock Brian’s team for desperately making the flood issue stick because they have no other credible issue that could work against Belen who stands out today as the best mayor Dagupan ever had.
Even the issue on backfilling, the city’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan allows the backfilling of properties provided that their owners comply with the guidelines set by the city and DENR.
And if Dagupan has to survive the effects of climate change in the next 50 years, the city must raise its street level higher than its present level. Preparing for this, many property owners in the city have began raising their properties above the anticipated flood level.
We are certain that no investor will come to Dagupan if they are not allowed to backfill the property that they had bought or had leased in anticipation of the floods. Filinvest, which is set to build 11 high-end condominiums at seven stories each along the old Lucao Road is raising its property’s level before commencing construction to make its projects truly flood-free.
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