DPWH seeks P643M for lahar control

LEGAZPI CITY –  The Regional Development Council (RDC) in Bicol has favored the P643-million funding proposal of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for the construction of flood control structures along critical flood paths down the slopes of Mt. Mayon to ease the destruction caused by lahar during rainy season.

To be constructed are Sabo dam structures, spur dikes and embankments along gullies on the slopes of the “World’s Most Perfect Cone” that serve as routes of avalanches of huge volume of volcanic debris down to major rivers here and in Sto. Domingo and Guinobatan towns that both sit near the foot of the volcano.

DPWH Regional Director Danilo Dequito  said the proposed structures composed of some 1,100 linear meters of Sabo dams, 7,000 linear meters of spur dikes, and 600 linear meters of embankments are to be built along the rivers of Yawa here, Basud in Sto. Domingo, and Quirangay in Guinobatan.

Dequito said the proposal for these projects along with the multi-million peso funding requirements have been approved by the RDC during its full council meeting last week and would be endorsed to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and the DPWH central office for inclusion in the 2012 national budget.

RDC chairman and Albay Governor Joey Salceda said the RDC’s approval and endorsement of the proposed projects was based on the necessity of putting in place the structures that would mitigate the danger of more avalanches of lahar and flashfloods threatening residential areas, farms and properties below Mt. Mayon.

Salceda recalled that in 2006, the same occurrences successively triggered by super typhoons Milenyo and Reming killed about 2,000 people and destroyed billions of pesos worth of agricultural crops, properties and government infrastructures.

“We do not want a repeat of that tragic disaster that although was caused by force majeure which we cannot totally prevent, should be anticipated with mitigating measures like these proposed DPWH projects to at least lessen it impacts,” the Albay governor said.

Salceda said the projects will be implemented based on the study conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) completed in 2000 that calls for the putting up of the same structures along the same sites identified by the DPWH.

The P643-million funding required by the projects would also include the Legazpi City Urban Drainage Projects here that intends to set up two pumping stations, eight floodgates facilities, channel excavation, embankment, and rip rapping along low-lying areas of the city, Salceda added.

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