Bondoc against Candaba water catchment; Marcos rejects costly dredging

A visibly irked President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said desilting of the Pampanga River will not solve the perennial flooding in Pampanga province because “it’s only temporary and costly.”

This, as Rep. Ana York Bondoc (4th Dist.-Pampanga), said the heavily silted Pampanga River should be dredged anew to allow floodwater to flow freely to the Manila Bay.

Rep. Bondoc has threatened to walk out during the situational briefing with regional line agencies in the presence of President Marcos and Pampanga officials upon hearing that the Candaba Swamp is being proposed as a water-impounding area.

“Hindi po kami papayag sa impounding sa Candaba Swamp. That is a wrong concept and we are not going to allow that,” said Rep. Bondoc.

“If you want a security problem, sirain po ninyo ang hanap buhay ng lahat na magsasaka diyan, magwa walkout po kami dito,” said Rep Bondoc.

When asked by President Marcos what is her suggestion, Rep. Bondoc cited the need for desilting which received a negative response from the Chief Executive. She also cited the planners of the Bulacan Airport project to build flood-mitigation structures.

Said Marcos: “I have administered these dredging projects all over the country and they are temporary and exceedingly expensive.”

Marcos said desilting will only last between four to six months. “Everywhere that we dredge bumabalik din e, then wala pang six months babalik na naman.”

Rep. York cited the Korean loan that is intended to desilt and construct an elevated slope protection. But again Marcos said the floodwater was coming from upstream and not from the slopes.

Marcos also said Candaba Swamp is already a swamp. “Dadagdagan lang ng tubig,” said Marcos.

Rep. Bondoc quipped back “Hindi po ito puedeng galawin, private land po ang mga ito.”

She said the 4th district of Pampanga is the remaining rice-producing area of the province and submerging it to more water will affect the livelihood of farmers.

But, the President reiterated the area is already a swamp in the first place.

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