Flooding may affect MICECON 2024

If the flooding issue in Pampanga persists until the middle of next year when the monsoons start dumping rains anew, it will further affect development of growth centers in the Subic and Clark corridor.

With no permanent solution in sight, the holding of the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICECON) 2024, which is set to take place on July 10 to 12, 2024, at SMX Clark, would be put in peril.

This as the state-run Clark Development Corporation (CDC) already postponed the “Power of Choice” solar talk and exhibit scheduled last August 8, after the participants from Manila did not dare cross the flooded portion of the North Luzon Expressway (Nlex) in Barangay Tulaoc, San Simon.

CDC President and CEO Agnes Devanadera cited the need for an “effective collaboration” with concerned government agencies amid cancellations, scheduling disruptions, and delays of important events in the Clark Freeport Zone.

–Nelson Gonzales Image

Devanadera has urged Metro Pacific Tollways (MPTC) CEO Rogelio Singson to address the flooding and traffic congestion at the Nlex amid the fast approaching MICECON 2024. The Clark Freeport Zone, which is host to 1,136 locators, will play host to the upcoming MICECON 2024 in July next year, which is the start of rainy season.

The MICECON 2023 held in Davao City recently had reportedly attracted 500 in-person delegates and around 2,000 online participants from the Philippines and overseas. But an inundated Nlex will affect the arrival of visitors to Clark.

The CDC has backed the plan to build a water impounding area at the Candaba Swamp as part of a long-term solution to the perennial flooding in Pampanga province.

The CDC management fears the unsolved flooding in Pampanga province may affect the holding of the MICECON 2024.

The month of July usually brings in the monsoon rains that often swell the heavily-silted Pampanga River. The recent Typhoons “Egay” and “Falcon” had swelled the Pampanga River which overflowed in low-lying areas and portion of the North Luzon Expressay (Nlex) in Barangay Tulaoc, San Simon, causing widespread traffic congestion.

Motorists in the area had been stuck in traffic for four hours or more, and also affected businesses in the provinces as delivery of their raw materials had been delayed.

While Rep. Ana York Bondoc (4th District-Pampanga) has expressed her opposition to the development of a water catchment area at the Candaba Swamp, Bulacan officials led by Governor Daniel Fernando has supported the plan to construct a water impounding area in their province.

During a meeting with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Fernando said they will support the plan to build more water reservoirs and a water impounding area in Bulacan province, something that brought a positive response from President Marcos.

Marcos said dredging the tributaries is just “exceedingly costly” because the riverways will be silted anew in four to six months.

Rep. Bondoc said “food security” is more important in Candaba, one of the towns in the 4th District, that still produce rice. She said submerging a portion of Candaba Swamp will affect the livelihood of farmers.

Singson, who participated in the Situational Briefing of Regional Line Agencies at the Pampanga Provincial Capitol, said the development of a water impounding area involves acquiring 200 hectares or 10% of the 2,000-hectare Candaba Swamp.

Singson said this would contain flooding in low-lying areas of Pampanga. He already proposed the project in 2013. But concerned Pampanga officials said the then DPWH’s proposal lacks support for affected families in Candaba town.

With a government-backed housing project in Candaba town that will house residents, other government officials particularly Marcos, hoped the plan to build a water catchment area at the Candaba Swamp will gain traction.

Marcos said government assistance will be accorded to those who will be affected by the plan to construct a water impounding area at the Candaba Swamp.

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