Legazpi exec summons DPWH officials over failed ₱2B flood control project | BICOL TODAY

Legazpi exec summons DPWH officials over failed ₱2B flood control project


By Manly M. Ugalde

LEGAZPI CITY, Albay Province – Mayor Noel Rosal has summoned Public Works officials of Region 5 (Bicol) Thursday last week to finally resolve the controversy over the failed Legazpi City ₱2.1 billion flood control project which includes 3 pumping stations completed 3 years ago, however, remain non-operational.

Attended are key staffs of the DPWH regional office led by regional director Virgilio Eduarte held at the office of Mayor Rosal, the meeting has traced the problems and solutions surrounding the continuing flooding of the city despite of the boasted, completed grand flood control project already completed since 2016.

The Legazpi flood control project was among the priority projects that passed through and approved by the Regional Development Council in 2014 under the chairmanship of then Albay Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda, to include widening and concreting of river channels and creeks, and the 3 pumping stations.

“I want to find out what’s the problem and solutions over the whooping P2.1 billion Legazpi flood control project built by the DPWH regional office completed 3 years ago, however, with flooding remains and blame is heaped to the city because of the failure of the 3 pumping stations to operate,” Rosal said.

Of the 3 pumping stations, 2 have been operational while the other one remains non operational.

But, Desiderio Ramos, vice president of Sunwest and Construction Corp. that implemented the pumping stations project said the pumping stations are operational, but the level of flood water reaching the pumping stations via the river channels in the city was not enough to render the machines operational.

Eduarte cannot be contacted for comment, neither his spokesperson Lucy Castaneda. Assistant regional director Esmeraldo Sarmiento said that what has been resolved during the meeting with the City Mayor was the improvement of the flood control channels, and creeks, saying the DPWH would start preparing for the program of works immediate funding.

He said regular dredging of river channels and maintenance have also been suggested for the free flow of flood water via the channels to the pumping stations.

Asked how much would be the cost for the improvement, Sarmiento said it would depend on the programs they would finish with urgency.

Residents complain that amid the grand Legazpi flood control project, the pumping stations would not operate at the height of floods sweeping Legazpi, fueling strong speculations that defects and wrong planning in the flood control project could be the culprit.

A source said that Sunwest Construction implemented the pumping stations, which cost only P1.8 million, out of the total P2.1 billion flood control project cost, adding the concreting and widening of the river channels and creeks were implemented by separate contractors.

The three pumping stations were installed at barangays San Roque (Tibu river), Pigcale, and Victory Village. Victory Village is the outlet of the 5-kilometer long Macabulo River affecting Barangays Victory, Tulatula, Maoyod, Cabangan, Imperial Court, Dapdap, Binanuahan West and East, Lapu-Lapu, and Dinagaan. The said 12 barangays suffered the worst during Typhoon Reming when houses were submerged by flood waters as high as 3 meters.

Following the January 2017 flooding of Legazpi, Mayor Rosal had sought the investigation of the Legazpi flood control project and the non operation of the pumping stations. The January 1 and 2, 2017 heavy rainfalls had cost suspension of classes and works.

Mayor Rosal, however, heaped the blame partly on the residents responsible on dumping garbage on rivers and creeks that block the flow of flood waters towards the pumping stations, thereby causing floods to the city. Rosal explained that the pumping stations needed a level of floodwater to operate.

It will be recalled that during Typhoon Reming in 2006 where closed to 2,000 people died from floods in Albay with more than 200 in Legazpi, the city which is a meter below the sea level was submerged by floods from Mt. Mayon and heavy rainfall to as high as 3 meters. The perennial flooding of Legazpi, even during short heavy rainfall, already renders flooding of the city commercial district.

Posted by on January 24, 2019. Filed under Bicol News,Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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