Department on Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will be pursuing flood mitigation projects in Northern Mindanao.
“Hihingi ako ng budget sa DBM glling sa calamity fund and immediately we’ll be working on it—structures to minimize flood, para hindi na maulit ang nangyari (I will ask budget from the Department of Budget Management [DBM] coming from calamity fund and immediately we’ll be working on it—structures to minimize the flood so the flooding incident will not happen again),” said Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar during his visit to Cagayan de Oro city on January 19.
Massive flooding along Butuan-Cagayan-Iligan Road (BCIR) occurred on January 16 due to two weather disturbances, low pressure area (LPA) and tail-end of a cold front, affecting 1,345 families or 5,625 individuals in the Cagayan de Oro City alone.
Among the areas in the city affected by the flooding include Kauswagan Highway (along BCIR), University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTP) near Bitan-ag Bridge, Carmen, CM Recto, Barangay Patag, Agusan, Balulang, Camaman-an, Gusa, Cugman, Puerto, Tumpagon, Pigsag-an, Tuburan, Taglimao, Pagalungan, Lumbia, San Simon, Pagatpat, Canitoan, Iponan and Bulua.
Though there are no damaged structures within national roads and bridges reported, DPWH is working closely with the local government units (LGUs) to make sure that the infrastructure projects targeted to protect the major national roads particularly the drainage bypass project will be implemented immediately.
“It’s justifiable to protect the major national roads since in times of calamity, the roads are impassable,” Villar stressed.
As for the immediate actions during the urban flooding, the DPWH has deployed equipment and personnel at the concerned areas (along BCIR, CM Recto Avenue, Magsaysay-Gingoog Road, Linamon-Zamboanga Road), monitored flood water level of major rivers, assisted in traffic control and evacuation, and conducted clearing operations and declogging activities of creeks, lateral and cross drainage.
To further protect the safety of the people, the department is aiming to implement the Urban Drainage Master Plan (UDMP) and as of press time, the DPWH fast tracked the preparation the program of work (POW) to determine exact amount needed.
A 300 million additional release to fund the improvement of the drainage system in the whole city of Cagayan de Oro has also been requested by the DPWH aside from proposing the utilization of the existing roadway in the installation of box culverts to minimize the acquisition of road-right-of-way (RROW).
The UDMP also entails the coordination of DPWH with the LGU in the execution of solid waste management, regulation of mining and illegal logging, and relocation of affected families.
“Immediately hihingi na ako ng funding kaagad para this year masisimulan lahat ng projects na kailangan ng Cagayan de Oro para at least kung magkakaroon ng ganoong klase ng ulan, ready na tayo (I will immediately ask for funding so we can start all of the projects that are needed in Cagayan de Oro and if another calamity with the same rain intensity would occur, we will be ready by then),” Villar said.(RTP/PIA10)