Gov't eyes dike, not Pacific spillway, for Laguna de Bay

By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 22 2013 03:01 PM | Updated as of Aug 22 2013 11:01 PM

MANILA - President Aquino on Thursday said there is funding for the construction of the "road ring dike" that would be built at Laguna de Bay.

He said the reclamation component of the project means it could be self-financing.

"It's in the plan. 'Yung funding na ito kasi merong reclamation na component assuming na maa-aprubahan iyan, it can be self-financing. May proponent dito, parang ang unang nagbanggit yata sa akin nito kung hindi ako nagkakamali si... dating Governor ng Rizal si Junjun. Ang proposal 'nung proponent is dahil may mare-reclaim nga ang bayad sa kanila something like a third of the reclaimed area mababayaran na 'yung combination dike and road that will open up a lot of areas around Laguna leading to development," he said.

Aquino said that the dike will help prevent the bay from overflowing.

"So magandang, magandang proposal 'to nasa... feasibility study currently tapos 'yung design 'no 'yung finalization 'nung design. Tapos ang idea nito, mabawasan siyempre 'yung water-holding capacity ng Laguna de Bay, bumaba na, meron kang informal settler problem, meron ka rin 'yung siltation coming from upstream. So maco-control 'yung pagpasok ng tubig once na-establish itong road ring dike na ito; at ang pinakamagandang parte nga 'nun iyong it can be self-financing."

Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson said the construction of the dike is a priority and that the construction of the Pacific spillway may no longer be necessary.

"'Yung mas priority doon iyong road-ring dike. 'Yung Pacific spillway e 'yun 'yung nasa last priority dahil 'pag nagawa na 'yung flood dam doon sa itaas ng Sierra Madre, ang tingin namin iyong tubig sa lawa e hindi ganung kasing taas ng nangyayari ngayon. So you might not need the Pacific spillway," he said.

Laguna Gov. ER Ejercito earlier urged the national government to prioritize construction of a spillway that will channel Laguna de Bay’s excess water to the Pacific Ocean.

Speaking to radio dzMM, Ejercito said decades of continuous siltation and indiscriminate garbage dumping has reduced Laguna de Bay's water-carrying capacity to only around 2.5 meters.