|Tanco sees P4.9-B flood control project as solution to Capizâ€™s perennial flooding|
ROXAS CITY â€“ Even before typhoon Ondoy became a phenomenon for causing enormous floods in urban areas like Metro Manila, flooding was already a perennial problem in Capiz.
That's why, if he had his way, Capiz Gov. Victor Tanco Sr., also the new chair of the Regional Development Council in Western Visayas,Â wants the almost P5 billion Panay River Basin Flood Control ProjectÂ implemented the soonest possible time.
To be funded by a grant from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) with a counterpart fund from the Philippine government, Tanco said a feasibility study has already been undertaken and that the project has already been endorsed by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) for implementation.
Engr. Julius Abela of the Capiz first district engineering office said the P4.9-billion budget only covers the projectâ€™s Phase l.Â Originally, the project cost is P12 billion he said.
Abela said, however, that there was no available data as to how much the Philippine government will put up as counterpart fund.
The ambitious project, which calls for measure to rehabilitate the 98-km Panay River in Capiz, will be the major concern that Tanco will push as he presides over RDCâ€™s inaugural meeting set Jan. 28 in Iloilo City.
Aside from environmental concerns, Tanco said the RDC will likely prioritize the problem on the lack of power supply in the region, the promotion of other areas in the region other than Boracay as tourist destinations, construction of seaports and airports, among others.
Tanco noted that Guimaras doesnâ€™t even have an airport.
Saying that flooding is a â€śdisaster waiting to happen,â€ť Tanco reiterated his desire to have the Panay River Basin Flood Control project realized sooner as he vowed to use his clout as RDC chair and as a member of the Liberal Party.
Tanco said he would personally ask the help of President Benigno â€śNoynoyâ€ť Aquino ll in order to fast track the projectâ€™s implementation.
During his 1996 visit to Capiz, Kenichi Matsui, JICA expert for rivers, revealed that the flood control project was shelved in 1985, just after the completion of the feasibility study, because of what JICA experts then perceived to be a problem on peace and order in Capiz.
Matsui said, however, that JICA sees Capiz now as a very peaceful place.
The study which started in August 1983 and was completed in October 1985, aims to formulate an integrated water resource development plan on the Panay River Basin which covers 12 out of the 16 municipalities in the northeastern part of the province.
The study covers such aspects as resources development, including investigation of socioeconomic, hydrology and land use, planning for flood control, agricultural development, multi-purpose dams and water supply with emphasis on flood control.
Matsui said he was told by Capiz officials that Capiz loses an average of P144-million worth of crops yearly due to destructive floods.
Environmental degradation such us forest denudation, erosion of the Panay watershed and the heavy siltation of the Panay River â€“factors causing flashfloods in Capiz during the rainy season â€“ always leads the pack of problems Capiz officials would want MalacaĂ±ang to act on.
In 1996, Capiz officials led by then Capiz Gov. Esteban Contreras presented environmental degradation as their major concern to then President Ramos during his May 7 out-of-town Cabinet meeting in Antique.
They also informed the President on the need to dredge the area of the Tinagong Dagat Bay, the estuary of the Panay River, as it has become heavily silted causing slow movement of water as well as the pollution which causes mass mortality on prawn farms around the bay.
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