Written by Loejan S. Anudon & Jing Villamil
This was her district tour since she assumed office and 5th District of Pangasinan Congresswoman Kimi Cojuangco spent it mostly atop and across dikes and floodways in serious huddle with engineers and mayors, thrashing out solutions to lessen if not to prevent massive devastation wrought her district by flooding and other related calamities during typhoon season.
Congresswoman Kimi met with Mayor Artemio Chan of Pozorrubio and Mayor Mina Joy Pangasinan of Sison together with Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) engineers on August 7 along the top ledges of the deteriorating Bued River dike stretching from barangays Agat to Amagbagan of Sison. In case the dike broke, Pozorrubio is more likely to take most of the initial damage. According to the DPWH engineers, P19 M was already spent in the rehabilitation of the said dike, all of these the congresswoman frustratingly referred to as band-aid remedy, temporary solutions that do not really solve the overall problem and could cost more in the long run.
This on-site meeting came up with probable permanent solutions to the problem, but ultimately, the greatest problem of all is funding, a task that reverts the issue around, back to the congresswoman and her ability to work for the best interests of her district.
The congresswoman then met with Agno Flood Control Director Engr. Fidel Ginez and Mayor Ditas Abrenica of Villasis at the latter’s office. At this point and place in time, plans and measures to implement any of the suggested flood-control measures remained unresolved.
From Villasis, the congresswoman proceeded to the Agno Floodway in Alcala for an ocular inspection of the Agno Floodway in Alcala with Alcala Mayor Manuel Collado and Bautista Mayor Amado Espino Jr.
According to Mayor Collado, floodwaters shall continue to ravage these two towns every typhoon season if the floodway were not widened to accommodate at least 50% of the total volume of water from Agno River, which serves as the spillway of the San Roque Dam. At present, this diversion channel is too constricted, allowing only 25% of the spill; the rest of the 75% proceeds to flood Bautista, while its backflow floods most of Alcala. Mayor Espino protests the unjust and excessive spill share that his town is forced to suffer; he also worries about the whirlpool the flood can generate distribution when it meets the rushing waters from Tarlac.
At the end of the day, after the data gathering and consultation, the congresswoman, the engineers and the mayors has reached a definition of the next step to be taken, which is to lobby for the case at the national level. The congresswoman’s chief of staff, Atty. Bobby Layug is now working on an appointment with the newly appointed DPWH Secretary of the Aquino government, Mr. Rogelio Singson. – Loejan S. Anudon & Jing Villamil