Iloilo guv to ask nat’l government for more flood control projects

Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. presents to the media data on the damage caused by heavy rains due to the southwest monsoon enhanced by Typhoon Goring in the province during a press conference on Wednesday, August 8, 2023. (Rjay Zuriaga Castor photo)

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor 

Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. said he will ask the national government for more floodway projects to confront substantial flooding-related challenges in the years ahead.

“We have to ask the national government, indi ina siya masarangan sang probinsya. Unless we borrow money. Masarangan ina sang national government like the Jaro floodway,” Defensor said in a press conference on Wednesday.

The construction of the Jaro Floodway started in 2008 and was completed in 2011, a year following the tenure of former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Defensor said he will particularly ask for help from the national government on the improvement of the waterways in the north and central Iloilo.

“Kinahanglan natun i-improve ang waterways natun […] We need a floodway in central and northern Iloilo sa gina agyan sang baha… There are times na because of volume, may first time nga gina baha. But that is merely if may clogged ikaw nga drainage,” he explained.

Defensor said the provincial government has not yet presented a project proposal with the national government but he will tap on the existing data from the Department of Public Works and Highways.

Over the years, Defensor said the provincial government has gained a fairly comprehensive understanding of the patterns of flooding that affect the province, pinpointing areas that are at risk.

In 2020, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Western Visayas identified 10 high-risk areas for both rain-induced hazards in the province.

These towns are Leon, Tubungan, Igbaras, Miagao, San Joaquin, Maasin, Janiuay, Calinog,Lambunao, and Alimodian.

Meanwhile, the recent flooding from the heavy rains of the southwest monsoon enhanced by Typhoon Goring in the province and city according to Defensor is not mostly caused by surface runoff from mountainous areas.

“The level of water has really changed through the years […] Ang ini subong nga ulan indi ni siya halin sa bukid nga nanaog. Ang ulan halos diri na siya sa syudad kag sa palibot,” he added.

In the meantime, Defensor said the province is taking short-term measures against rain-induced hazards such as the “Limpyo Dalanon” initiative and the Purok Resilience Program, a localized housing program for residents residing in hazardous zones.

“Ang aton clearing of waterways, we do that through our Limpo Dalanon. We clear our waterways along the highways, even rivers and creeks from debris,” he said.

“There are river channels that need to be cleared. Ang mga river delta natun may mga nipa and may mga inhabitants na sa kilid,” he added.