Iloilo City seeks more funds for drainage project

(File photo courtesy of Al Destacamento)

By John Noel E. Herrera

As flooding in the metro has become a constant problem not just during typhoons, but also when high tides occur, Iloilo City lone district Rep. Julienne Baronda asked the Department of Works and Highways (DPWH) for additional funding for the Iloilo City Comprehensive Drainage Plan.

In a budget hearing, Baronda said that based on a 2017 feasibility study, Iloilo City needed P6.2 billion for the drainage project, but P500 million was released so far.

Baronda also said that the constant flooding in the city due to high tide and persistent problems in the drainage system is one of the top concerns of the city government and the residents.

“Concern talaga namin hindi lang during time ng typhoon, ‘pag mag high tide, underwater na ang several areas in Iloilo City. So, I would just like to ask the assistance of the good secretary na sana matulungan kami about the problem at madagdagan ang pondo para sa comprehensive drainage plan para sa Iloilo City,” Baronda said.

Meanwhile, DPWH secretary Manuel Bonoan said he will look into Baronda’s concerns.

“I was informed by our senior undersecretary that the additional program for the Iloilo City’s masterplan program will be attended to,” Bonoan said.

The DPWH also said that the disbursement rate at this time amounts to P296.6 billion or 37 percent of the P812.4 billion allotment.

Bonoan also emphasized that despite the low disbursement rate “as of this point in time, I am confident that we will be able to maintain absorptive capacity of 90 percent by the end of the year.

“We have had several payable that we have now requested the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for the release of cash obligations at this point in time and we are just awaiting our payables that we will increase our absorptive capacity in 2022,” he added.

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas earlier said that a problem in a creek’s drainage system caused flooding in some areas in the city.

“The waters in La Paz pass through the Budburan Creek in Lapuz, and unless we fix the creek, we would have to relocate the houses on top of the creek,” Trenas said.

The recurring problem of flooding in La Paz area also pushed the city government to build a retention tank at the La Paz plaza, which would retain all the rainwater to prevent flooding.

There was also a plan to build four new pumping stations in the city which would stop floodwaters, but the agency still needed funds from the national budget to start the project.