PGMA orders completion of Sapang Maragul Diversion Channel
Guagua, Pampanga (5 October) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has directed local government officials and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) yesterday to fast track the completion of the Sapang Maragul Diversion Channel here in order to address the perennial problem of flooding in the area.
The Chief Executive issued the directive after personally conducting an inspection of the diversion channel located in Barangay San Agustin, Betis, Guagua, Pampanga Sunday afternoon.
Joining the President during the inspection were Pampanga Rep. and Presidential Son Juan Miguel Mikey Arroyo, Guagua Mayor Ricardo Rivera, and DPWH Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane.
At the inspection site, the President and her party were briefed on the project by Guagua municipal engineer Raul Naguit who detailed the salient features of the river containment system project.
In an interview, Guagua municipal administrator Jun Panganiban said the President, who also inspected the nearby barangays of San Jose, San Juan-Nepo, San Miguel and San Roque, instructed Rivera and Ebdane to put up the flood control measure immediately.
Panganiban pointed out that the President likewise ordered Rivera to expedite the processing of the right-of-way payment claims to the residents whose properties will be affected by the infrastructure project.
"The President's directives were to fast track the construction of the Sapang Maragul and to consider the request for the advance release of the payment of the right-of-way claim by the 70 lot owners and five homeowners whose properties will come into direct contact with construction works of the diversion channel," Panganiban said.
"Para din tuloy tuloy yung trabaho (So that work on the diversion channel will run smoothly and continuously)," he added.
Panganiban cited the importance of constructing the Sapang Maragul Diversion Channel (SMDC) as this would re-channel flood waters coming from tributaries in Porac to bypass Guagua and exit into the Pampanga river immediately.
He noted that flooding in the municipality would be a thing of the past once the SMDC which, he said, is projected to be completed in December this year.
Strong rains wrought by Ondoy caused a portion of the riprap dike of Sapang Maragul (San Juan Nepomuceno portion) to collapse and allow floodwaters to enter almost all 31 towns of Guagua. The collapsed dike also caused flood waters, reaching as high as five feet, to spread to six other neighboring barangays of Betis which as a population of 30,735. (OPS) [top]