Former President and now Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Tuesday attended the meeting of the House Committee on Public Works and Highways, chaired by Rep. Bayani Fernando (1st District, Marikina City), where the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) conducted a briefing on the flood control system master plan and other issues surrounding the system in Passi, Iloilo.
DPWH Project Director Patrick Gatan explained that the Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility Phase 2 (IPIF-2) shall provide infrastructure projects for the purpose of flood control and water resources management by reducing the risk of flood events and increasing preparedness in affected communities of 6 river basins in the Philippines, including Jalaur River in Iloilo.
The panel was pleased to find out that Phase 2 is already moving forward. Speaker Arroyo stated that Rep. Jerry Treñas (Lone District, Iloilo City) will be instructed to announce the good news to his constituents.
Gatan noted that the DPWH was not able to complete the IPIF-Phase 2 due to several reasons, including the 3,000 informal settlers occupying the surrounding areas of the Jalaur River.
Because of the squatters, the alternative plan of DPWH is to construct the retarding pond in the upper stream of the river to reduce the flood flow coming from there to the downstream.
This shall be included in DPWH’s 2019 master plan. Gatan told the legislators that they shall already begin with the procurement of the right of way, and subsequently the construction of the flood control system.
Meanwhile, Fernando recommended for the DPWH to first build the canal along Jalaur River to create a boundary. “If you reduced the flooding right away, they will encroach further and it will make the waterway narrower,” he said.
Fernando also raised that amphibious equipment may be utilized to dredge the lahar that is causing the riverbanks to further narrow down.
Speaker Arroyo directed the DPWH to confirm if they do not really have the necessary equipment for the project. Gatan vowed to confer with the Bureau of Equipment on the matter.
“You can begin immediately as soon as you find the amphibious equipment. Congressman Treñas will give the good news to his constituents. You better make sure that [it] will happen,” urged Speaker Arroyo.
Treñas expressed his gratitude towards the Speaker as the flood control project will greatly help Iloilo.
The Committee will reconvene after March 8, 2019 to discuss updates on the IPIF-1.