Bulacan governor supports dev’t of water catchment

CITY OF MALOLOS – Bulacan Governor Daniel R. Fernando has recommended the construction of additional water reservoirs and water impounding areas in Bulacan province as part of a long-term solution to contain flooding in the province.

Fernando’s suggestions to the development of water impounding areas and water reservoirs get the support of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. who earlier met with Pampanga officials at the Pampanga Provincial Capitol.

Rep. Ana York Bondoc (4th Dist-Pampanga) has aired her opposition to the development of a water catchment area at the Candaba Swamp and threatened to “walk out” during the Situational Briefing with Regional Line Agencies in Pampanga province on Monday, where some 220 villages had been submerged by floodwater.

Rep. Bondoc reasoned out Candaba town is a rice-producing area and the people in the area should have “food security.” Submerging Candaba Swamp will affect production of rice, according to Bondoc.

However, Marcos said Candaba Swamp is already a “swamp” and the plan is only to prevent the occurrence of flooding in Pampanga and the portion of Nlex in San Simon town.

For his part, Fernando proposed additional water reservoir and water impounding areas in the lowlands aside from its emergency response to dredge rivers and creeks.

“Aside from the Bayabas Reservoir, we respectfully recommend for the additional water reservoir situated in the higher grounds. And as additional precaution, we also recommend the construction of water impounding areas similar to La Mesa Dam. This is to hold the excess water coming from the uplands to avoid overflowing of rivers that might cause flooding. Moreso, the collected waters from the impounding areas can be used latter easily for irrigation purposes,” said Fernando.

Marcos has agreed to Fernando’s proposed long-term solutions for the province which are in line with the plans of the national government.

“Itong dredging, iyan ang emergecy response natin so kailangan pa rin talaga gawin para at least lumalim ng kaunti ‘yong ilog. But it is not a permanent solution dahil babalik din ‘yong siltation eh. But I think you have identified the better way, the water reservoirs and water impounding areas in the low lands. Iyon ang aming talagang pinaplano,” said Marcos.

In his report to the President, Fernando first identified the main triggering factors that caused massive flooding in the province which includes urbanization and construction of private infrastructure; saturated land due to extensive downpour of rains; lack of masterplan and design in the construction of drainages; and ongoing construction of Manila North Rail Transit.

The governor also reported the current status of various sectors in Bulacan wherein a grand total of P768, 671,475 worth of damages were reported on agriculture, fisheries, livestock, poultry and infrastructure due to flooding and onslaught of the Southwest Monsoon enhanced by Typhoons Egay and Falcon.

Vice Governor Alexis C. Castro also called the attention of the Philippine National Railway regarding the ongoing construction of PNR Line in the province that contributed to the prolonged flooding in the towns of Marilao, Santa Maria and other areas since the construction blocked some of the drainage system in the province.

In relation to this, Marcos also pushes for the creation of Water Resources Management Office under the Office of the President which will be tasked to provide leadership in the conservation and judicious use of water as vital agricultural resources in the upland farming communities.

Marcos met Bulacan officials at the Mariano Ponce Hall, Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center on Monday.

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