February 29, 2024

Marcos mulls construction of floodwater reservoir for Pampanga

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. ordered on Monday the conduct of an extensive study on the proposed construction of an impounding system in Candaba, Pampanga as a long-term solution to the flooding problem in the province.

The issue of the establishment of a huge collection pool in Candaba cropped up during the President’s meeting with Pampanga local officials to address massive flooding in Central Luzon.

Some local officials are opposing the planned construction, fearing its impact on people’s livelihood, particularly to palay farmers. Candaba is a major rice producer in the region.

The President allayed those fears, saying, “Do not worry when it comes to the LGUs. Kayo naman ay hindi namin basta…sasagasaan na lang ‘yung project. Hindi namin gagawin ‘yun.”

“Unang-una, kayo mag-a-approve nito. Hindi naman ma-approve ito kung ayaw ninyo. Kayo mag-approve nito na kukuha ng 10 percent (land) para paglagyan ng impounding.”

The President made an assurance that those who will be displaced by the proposed project will be relocated to other areas that are equally productive as their current holding.

The construction of a huge collection pool is just one of the solutions raised during Monday’s meeting.

The President also mentioned the conduct of dredging operations as a short-term solution and elevating certain structures in San Simon, Pampanga, to ease heavy traffic in the area in connection with the flooding.

“We’ll raise the NLEX para hindi na mangyari itong nangyari ngayon. And then pag-aralan natin ‘yung mga alternative routes kagaya ng… ‘yung mga truck kaya naman ‘yung baha, baka puwede nating padaanin. Iyong mga kotse, doon sa taas. So we’ll study that,” Marcos said during the meeting.”

“In the long-term…we really have to study what we are going to do in terms of [impounding]. Kailangan natin pag-aralan nang mabuti dahil kung wala tayong gagawin, paulit-ulit… kahit mag-dredge tayo. So, that, I think, is the situation as we find it in the very short term, in the medium term, in the long term.”

The project was proposed by former public works and highways secretary Rogelio Singson in 2013 as a solution to flooding concerns in Central Luzon. Singson was present during the briefing.

Local officials said the project could affect more than 9,000 residents in Candaba, stressing that the DPWH made the proposal at that time without incorporating measures to be done for families that would be affected by the project.

Under Singson’s proposal, the government will secure or buy around 200 hectares or ten percent of the 2,000-hectare swamp land in Candaba to build a water impounding area to prevent flooding in nearby and low-lying areas.