BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Local officials are banking on the dredging of major rivers and tributaries in the 3rd district of Negros Occidental to address the perennial problem of flashfloods, the latest of which occurred during the New Year celebration and affected more than 15,000 families in the cities of Victorias, Talisay, and Silay, and the town of EB Magalona, and damaged P20 million in crops and fisheries.
The maintenance dredging, with the help of the Department of Public Works and Highways Bureau of Equipment, started yesterday at the Carugiat Creek in Brgy. 13, Victorias City, and was facilitated by Rep. Francisco Benitez and Mayor Francis Frederick Palanca.
“This has been long delayed, and long awaited by the city,” Palanca said, referring to the deployment of an amphibious excavator in Victorias City.
“I think the flood precipitated it,” he added.
Benitez, Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson and DPWH 1st District Engineer Jaime Javellana attended the launching of the maintenance dredging project at the Carugiat creek, and Malihaw and Magnanud rivers in Victorias.
The city was prioritized in the dredging activities, being the worst-hit by the recent flashfloods.
The dredging of water tributaries in Talisay City is also expected to start immediately, after the provincial government sent its dredger to the area, Lacson said.
Palanca said he is expecting another dredging equipment for the mouths of the major rivers, that he said are heavily silted.
DPWH Bureau of Equipment official Regie Pastor said they will stay in Victorias City until the maintenance dredging project is completed.
Lacson encouraged the cities in the 3rd district to invest in a dredger, stressing that “there will always be continuous maintenance work”, referring to the dredging of waterways.
“If you have your own dredger, you don’t have to wait for help from the DPWH, or the province, because you have your own,” he said. Lacson said that EB Magalona is now waiting for a private company to do the dredging, since the province already mobilized its dredger in Talisay.*