Agno river flood control projects completed next year - Esperon
by Danny O. Sagun
Dagupan City (19 June) -- Presidential Management Staff Secretary Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. led Thursday inspection of the P4.12 billion Agno River Flood Control Project (ARFCP)-Phase II in Tarlac and Pangasinan.
Esperon, head of the Pro-Performance System Steering Committee, motored from Moncada town in Tarlac to Rosales and then to Alcala in Pangasinan to inspect three project components-the 6-kilometer Moncada-Sapang Provincial road and the Baquero Norte Evacuation Center in Moncada, and the Hector Mendoza Bridge in Alcala.
According to Esperon, the ARFCP Phase II involves river improvement works in the 23-kilometer Bayambang-Bautista-Alcala stretch of the Agno River extending from the Wawa Bridge in Bayambang to Alcala.
Major improvement works include the construction of the floodway to the Poponto Swamp retarding basin and closure dike at the floodway entrance, heightening of existing dike, construction of new dikes, revetment groin, and bridges.
The project aims to mitigate damages in the Agno river basin caused by recurrent flooding due to the insufficient carrying capacity of the river and the lack of height and width of existing earth dikes to cope with flooding, which has affected towns in Tarlac and Pangasinan since the 90s.
"Once completed, the project will provide relief to residents from recurrent flooding and reduce damages to crops, properties, and public facilities, and risk to people's lives," said Esperon.
"This will benefit the municipalities of Alcala, Bautista and Bayambang in Pangasinan and the municipalities of Paniqui and Moncada in Tarlac, including neighboring towns in Northern Luzon," he said, adding that "this will dramatically improve the lives of our people, including farmers, or our agri-businessmen, motorists and residents."
The project is broken down into four contract packages: 1) Contract Package I ( Bayambang Stretch and Floodway) - Construction of floodway to the Poponto River Basin and river improvement works from Bayambang to Alcala; 2) Contract Package II (Guide Channel to Bayambang) - Construction of Guide Channel to Bayambang; 3) Contract Package III (Social Development for Poponto Retarding Basin) - Construction of 24 evacuation centers and the heightening of provincial and barangay roads; and 4) Contract Package IV (Hector Mendoza Bridge in Alcala, Pangasinan)-Construction of the 1.02-km, 2 lane reinforced concrete deck girder (RCDG) on Bored Piles and RC piers.
The Moncada-Sapang Provincial Road and the Baquero Norte Evacuation Center are part of Package III, while the Hector Mendoza Bridge is part of Package IV. Packages I, III and IV are already complete. Package II is nearing completion with 70.1% accomplished.
The Moncada-Sapang Provincial Road, costing P68.9 million, was turned-over to the Provincial Government of Tarlac in 2006. It traverses four (4) barangays, namely Camangaan West, Baquero Norte, Baquero Sur and Sapang. With its construction, the provincial road now enables the transport of farm products all-year round and provides easy access for the residents of the said barangays.
The Baquero North Evacuation Center, a two-storey building with total project cost of P8.2 million, was constructed in 2004, The evacuation center, which can accommodate more than 500 people, now houses the barangay hall and is being used as a multi-purpose building by barangay residents.
On the other hand, the Hector Mendoza Bridge, costing P995 million, was inaugurated by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2004.
Over-all the Agno River Flood Control Project Phase II is targeted for completion early next year.
"We are conducting on-site inspections and meeting with various stakeholders to make sure that our priority infrastructure projects are implemented on the ground with utmost efficiency, transparency and effectiveness," said Esperon, a former Armed Forces chief staff.
"We will do what needs to be done to meet our targets. With 2010 just around the corner, we are now working triple time to ensure that the projects are implemented, completed and operationalized as scheduled," added Esperon.
Joining Esperon in the project inspection are Pro-Performance Team members Caritas Manila Executive Director Fr. Anton Pascual (religious sector), National Youth Commission Chairman Richard Nalupta (youth), Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) Executive Director Atty. Monina Camacho representing ULAP President Mayor Benjamin Abalos Jr. (local governments), and Jonathan Decena of the Manila Broadcasting Company (MBC) representing Manila Broadcasting Company President and Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) Vice President Ruperto Nicdao, Jr. (PIA Pangasinan) [top]