BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The municipality of EB Magalona is the fourth local government unit to declare a state of calamity, following recent flashfloods that hit eight cities and towns of Negros Occidental.
Mayor Marvin Malacon said yesterday that the declaration of a state of calamity was made by the Municipal Risk Reduction and Management Council, and adopted by the Sangguniang Bayan during its regular session on Jan. 11.
EB Magalona joined Silay, Talisay, and Victorias in the list of areas placed under a state of calamity due to floods that damaged crops and fisheries, worth almost P50 million, excluding several infrastructure projects also destroyed.
Malacon said 13 of the 23 barangays of EB Magalona were hit by the flashfloods on Jan. 9, and affected 3,339 families, composed of 16,690 individuals, and destroyed P9 million in crops, fisheries, and infrastructure projects.
The four LGUs were hit twice by flashfloods, the first on New Year’s Day.
Malacon said the flashfloods could be attributed to the heavily silted mouths of Malogo, Imbang, and Tabigue rivers and other waterways, and their declogging could start this month.
He also noted that the waterways in the town are even much lower than in the residential areas, and the original drainage system in rural areas had already been planted with sugarcanes.
Because of this development, Malacon said he will ask the SB for the passage of an ordinance, for the restoration of the original drainage system, and to request the Department of Public Works and Highways to repair the drainage system along the highway.
As to claims that quarrying may also be blamed for the flashfloods, Malacon said the quarrying of sand and gravel has long been there, the water from the mountain passes through rivers that overflowed because of shallow waterways and siltation.
The volume of water and the high tide cannot be accommodated by the drainage system, and there lies the problem, he added.
Malacon thanked Rep. Kiko Benitez, Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson, Board Members Andrew Montelibano and Manuel Frederick Ko, mayors Gerry Rojas of Murcia and Marxlen dela Cruz of Salvador Benedicto, and the private sector, for augmenting the relief goods distributed by the municipal government to affected families in the town. He said a third tranche of relief goods is now being prepared by the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office and will soon be distributed to the affected families.*