DAGUPAN CITY – Representative Christopher “Toff” De Venecia of the fourth District of Pangasinan assured his assistance to Mayor Belen T. Fernandez in solving the city's perennial flooding problem in their meeting on August 19 in the aftermath of “habagat” last week.
Fernandez invited De Venecia to an ocular inspection at the old De Venecia highway on Friday (August 19) to assess the effect of the floodwater coming from Banaoang, Calasiao flowing to the other side of the highway via a culvert constructed by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) which directly affected the barangays of Lasip Chico, Lasip Grande, Malued, Lucao and Tapuac with flood as deep as one foot to 4 feet.
Mayor Fernandez recently called on Governor Amado “Pogi” I. Espino III to bring the same concern to his attention including the digging by DPWH of a new river channel in Barangay Banaoang that redirected the flow of water from the old river system to the new one which is much shorter.
Accordingly, these two projects of the DPWH cause the flooding in the five mentioned barangays as well as the heavy siltation of the Pantal River in Dagupan City as the river banks of the new river channel is unprotected with a dike.
The governor readily sent Engineers Rodolfo C. Dion of the 2nd Pangasinan Engineering District, and Engineer Marieta Mendoza of the 4th Pangasinan Engineering District along with Provincial Engineer Tonette delos Santos and Calasiao Municipal Engineer Melanio B. De Vera for a meeting with Fernandez on August 15 in a bid to address the problem.
On August 19, Fernandez with De Venecia this time met anew with the engineers of DPWH and joined them in the ocular inspection.
In their meeting, the engineers explained that the new river channel was constructed purposely to shorten the travel time of the flood water coming from upstream and spare the residents of Barangay Banaoang from getting flooded, thus explains the huge culvert at the De Venecia Highway.
“Their intention is noble but the effect on us is destructive,” said Fernandez as she proposed that the banks of the new river channel be protected with a dike and that a flood gate be constructed in the huge culvert to re-direct the flood water down to the nearby Banaoang River and not directly to Barangay Lasip Chico.
While the DPWH lamented not foreseeing the effect of the two projects on the residents of Dagupan, De Venecia disclosed that he will be working closely with Congresswoman Baby Arenas to work for the construction of a dike along the new river channel and protect the city’s rivers from siltation. He will also push for the construction of a flood gate in the huge culvert.
The city, on the other hand, has already elevated several roads, alongside new drainage systems as among its flood mitigating program, including the dredging of the city’s rivers.
"More city and barangay roads and drainage systems are due for implementation this year and next year as we prepare our budget for 2017," said Fernandez. (Joseph C. Bacani/CIO/August 21, 2016)