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PIA Press Release

Iloilo pins hope on flood control project

Iloilo City (14 October) -- This Western Visayas regional center hopes to find a solution to its own flooding problem, an almost yearly occurrence and which causes varying degrees of damage, in the ongoing Iloilo Flood Control Project here.

The P5.5-billion project is being implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and is financed by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). It is being implemented in two stages – the first stage is being handled by China International Water & Electric Corp. and the second stage by Hanjin Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. of Korea.

The project is part of government efforts to sustain economic development in the regional center by mitigating flood damage, creating a more sustainable urban community, and providing a safer and more pleasant living condition for the urban area of Iloilo.

The construction of the project is expected to be completed by February 2010.

Iloilo province, Iloilo City and other provinces in Panay Island were devastated by heavy floodings that occurred when typhoon "Frank" hit the region on June 21, 2008. The value of damages to agriculture, aquaculture and properties reached about P20 billion.

During her September 24 visit here, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo directed the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to release the P8 billion Paglaum (Hope) Fund for the repair and rehabilitation of certain provinces in Western Visayas damaged by typhoon Frank last year.

Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said the President has earlier allocated more than P400 million to repair major bridges in Iloilo damaged by the typhoon.

In a press briefing held in Manila, Science and Technology Undersecretary Graciano Yumul, Jr. said that weather abnormalities, attributed to global warming and climate change, are now the norm, citing that the Philippines, despite El Nin'o prediction, is experiencing extreme wet condition.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said typhoons and flooding caused by weather abnormalities have been unusually heavy and have brought about devastation as what happened recently when Typhoons "Ondoy" and "Pepeng" struck Metro Manila and Central and Northern Luzon.

Malacanang wanted a deeper look into the flooding problem in Metro Manila caused by "Ondoy" whose devastating effects affected thousands of people and wrought hundreds of millions of pesos worth of property and business losses.

The Palace said President Arroyo has ordered her Cabinet to look into a 1977 study on flooding in Metro Manila by internationally renowned urban planner Architect Felino Palafox, Jr. and find out if there's something in it the government can adapt.

"Let's look at it again. It was a masterplan for NCR (National Capital Region) during the Marcos administration but it was never implemented. Let's see what we can do about it," the President said during the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC)-Cabinet meeting held in Dagupan City, October 13.

Pangasinan was one of the areas in central and northern Luzon that were severely hit by "Pepeng" that passed through the Philippines after "Ondoy."

The province incurred damage in agriculture amounting to P5.254 billion.

The Palafox study submitted in July 1977 to then Public Works and Highways Minister Alfredo Juinio states that "development should be restricted by the application of controls in three major areas---the Marikina Valley, the western shores of Laguna de Bay, and the Manila Bay coastal areas to the north of Manila…" since relaxing control would have adverse consequences.

The devastation wrought by typhoon "Ondoy" last Sept.26, wherein Marikina was among those that sustained the most damage, proved Palafox right. (PIA 6-JSC) [top]

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