MANILA - Bulacan Governor Daniel Fernando on Monday urged the national government to come up with a master plan, elevated roads, and even a Manila-Bataan Coastal Highway to mitigate the persistent flooding in his province.
Fernando addressed a technical working group of the House Committee on Public Works and Highways that was constituted to study pending bills in flood control.
Parts of Bulacan province have been flooded following several days of heavy rains.
Fernando told lawmakers that bypass roads have sealed off waterways that would have emptied out flood waters.
"In my own opinion, kasi po ang mga bypass road natin ay talagang ngayon ay lahat ay halos ginagawa at nagawa na. Ito po'y sa opinion ko lang. Mukhang di napag-aralang mabuti sapagkat sinagasaaan na lahat ng kabukiran ano po. Yung kabukiran po ang ginagamit ng ating magsasaka. pangalawa yun po ay daloy ng mga tubig na nanggagaling sa iba't ibang lugar. Kaya po napagsara lahat. Wala na pong patunguhan ang ating mga tubig galing sa ulan," Fernando said.
"So sa sarili ko po opinyon, nakita ko na kailangan talaga rito even yung mga ginagawang bypass road na sa kabukiran dinadaan dapat ito ay elevated na kamukha nang nangyari dito sa Candaba bridge. So yan lang ho sa akin," Fernando explained.
He highlighted the need for a well-studied master plan, as he also raised his strict stand on land conversion as it could affect flooding.
"Karamihan po ay kahit productive land at kahit agusan na ng tubig, aagusan ng tubig na galing sa ulan ay napagtatayuan ng negosyo na di napag-aaralan," he explained.
Fernando also reported to lawmakers that he had asked business tycoon Ramon Ang, whose San Miguel Corporation conglomerate is building a new international airport in his province, about dredging major river systems and the need to build elevated roads.
"These efforts would complement the dredging activities of the provincial government being undertaken on small rivers and creeks connected to these major river systems." Fernando said.
"The meeting also highlighted to adapt elevated roads when constructing new roads in Bulacan especially the proposed roads leading to the New Manila International Airport." he added.
Fernando also reported that he and Bataan Governor Joet Garcia III and Pampanga Governor Dennis Pineda are seeking the construction of a Manila-Bataan Coastal Toll Road that would pass through Bulacan and Pampanga as a major flood control program for their provinces.
Fernando told lawmakers that Ang told them their proposal will be studied, even as the governor also said they have pitched the idea to another construction magnate.
"Regarding this matter, inilatag po namin itong 3 governor sa pamamagitan po ng PPP o Public Private Partnership, inopen namin ang coastal tollway dito kay Mr. Ramon Ang. Nagbigay po siya ng kaniyang kumento na pag-aaralan, and also inilatag na rin po namin ito kay Mr. Reghis Romero which is the owner of RR kung sakasakali naman na di makaya ng ating gobyerno." Fernando said.
"Ang coastal road na ito, na gagawin po natin pwede nating gawing tollgate para naman mabawi natin yung magiging gastos nito kundiman po kayang pondohan ng DBM o ng national government. Kasi po ito lang ang isa sa nakikita naming solusyon itong dike na ito. The massive dredging at syempre ito pong paglalagay natin ng mga additional water reservoir na katulad po ng nasa ibang bansa." Fernando explained.
House Ways and Means Chair Joey Salceda of the 2nd district of Albay earlier told lawmakers that an integrated flood control program for the Province of Bulacan is needed to prevent widespread flooding in the area.
Salceda, principal author of the proposed Bulacan Ecozone Law, told his colleagues in the hearing that without “integrated flood control and centralized land use and planning, Bulacan and North NCR is doomed to even more flooding.”
“Flooding was already worsening in Bulacan even before the airport construction started. Doing nothing (even completely stopping the airport project) will continue to make things worse,” Salceda said in a presentation.
Salceda also cited widespread fishpond development and subsidence due to excessive groundwater use as among the key reasons for flooding in the area.
“Without an integrated flood control program for Bulacan, the flooding will get worse. That is especially because Bulacan is sandwiched between two major flood control projects, namely the Camanava flood control project and the Pampanga River Flood Control system. Where else will the water go but Bulacan?” Salceda added.
“And it also makes obvious why Bulacan has lagged behind Calabarzon and Metro Clark in generating large private investments. It is not protected from flooding risks by a major flood control system of its own," Salceda said.