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PIA Press Release
2009/10/21

Mayor asks colleagues to go slow on dam decommission

By Danny O Sagun

Dagupan City (21 October) -- Sta. Barbara town Mayor Reynaldo Velasco has cautioned those who wanted the San Roque multi-purpose dam decommissioned to go slow and "look at the bigger picture."

Guesting at the Engkwentro sa Lenox media forum this morning, Velasco said that decommissioning the facility was not the solution. "Dapat pag-aralang mabuti yan. Hindi tayo dapat padalos-dalos," he stressed. "Let us look for the solution and let us look at the bigger picture," he added.

He noted that the multi-purpose project is to be paid in 25 years. "Sinong magbabayad nyan kung ipapasara natin?" he asked.

In last Monday’s meeting called by Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr., the consensus reached among the mayors present was for the dam’s power generation component to be shut down and convert the facility solely for irrigation purposes. Pangasinan saw what many considered as the worst flooding since 1972 when typhoon Pepeng dumped heavy rains causing rivers to swell. Pangasinenses believed the situation was aggravated by the untimely release of excess waters from the dam.

Urdaneta City Mayor Amadeo Perez, Jr., citing possible consequences of a dam break, rallied his colleagues to move for the decommissioning of the facility’s power generation to avert any disaster like a deluge of up to 10-storeys high in areas near the dam.

Vice-Gov. Marlyn Primicias in response to Perez’s proposal said the provincial legal officer and other legal experts would study it along with the earlier proposal of filing damage suits against agencies perceived to be responsible for the massive flooding like the San Roque management and the National Power Corporation.

Velasco however said that based on technical reports, the floods were not caused alone by the release of excess waters from the dam. He said that heavy rainfall caused other river tributaries to swell other than the Agno river which captures the released waters from the dam.

Lapses in the release of excess waters, he said, should be corrected. He disagreed with the closure of the dam which produces up to 400 megawatts of energy.

If the planned re-regulating pond for irrigation would help solve contain waters, he said it must be implemented now. "Sana noon pa yan ginawa … kung P6 billion ang magastos dyan, e P7 billion naman yong damages, sana na-saved na natin yan," he said.

Disasters now are attributed to global warming or climate change "whether we like it or not," he said. (PIA Pangasinan) [top]

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