Monday, May 28, 2012

Damaged dike floods 2 North Cotabato towns

KIDAPAWAN CITY -- Residents of low-lying villages in towns of Magpet and President Roxas in North Cotabato blamed the latest flashfloods to a damaged dike built along Kabacan River, one of the biggest rivers in the province. The dike, constructed in late 2009, was damaged by the strong current of water last Thursday night, according to Mario Calayco, chairman of Barangay Poblacion in President Roxas. Evelinda Baliguat, chairman of Barangay Binay in Magpet town, said they monitored the first crack of the structure last July 2011 when flashfloods hit their village and nearby areas. "Months after the dike was constructed, we already saw the crack. It was all the more damaged when a strong flood hit the village last Thursday. What will happen to the dike if a stronger flood hit the village again?" Baliguat asked. Magpet Mayor Efren Pinol believed the materials used in constructing the multi-million dike were sub-standard. "I am not an engineer myself. But by merely looking at the dike, I can say, the materials used were not of good quality or sub-standard," Pinol said. Data showed that in 2009, some P30 million was released to fund the construction of a concrete flood-control dike at the boundary of Barangay Tuael in President Roxas town and Barangay Binay in Magpet town where the heavy concentration of water of Kabacan River coming from the mountains is situated. Of the P30 million, the Cotabato Provincial Government, under then the leadership of former Governor Jesus Sacdalan, released from its calamity funds some P8 million to fund the project, and the rest from the National Government, in particular from the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC). Pinol said even before the project was completed in 2009, he already complained before the office of then Defense Secretary Gualberto Teodoro, also former chairman of the NDCC, about the program design and the materials used. His complaints, however, fell on deaf ears, he said. "I questioned the amount of the project. I know this project was highly anomalous, so controversial," he said. Pinol said he would again ask the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in North Cotabato to look into the structure. He said the DPWH Cotabato first engineering district is headed by Engineer Mamintal Taha. However, the construction of the structure was not completed under his Taha's leadership, the mayor explained. "We demand that the DPWH investigate on the matter, check on the materials used, and conduct profiling of the structure so that measures would be taken soonest," Pinol added. (Sun.Star Davao/Sunnex)