GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/28 January) — The national government has approved the release of around P150 million for the construction of flood-control structures in the provinces of South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat.
South Cotabato 2nd District Rep. Daisy Avance-Fuentes said Monday such allocation was mainly intended for the development of stable embankments along critical portions of the Allah River in the
municipalities of Sto. Nino in South Cotabato and Isulan in Sultan Kudarat.
She said the planned structures would mainly protect local communities from perennial flooding and prevent massive soil erosion along the riverbanks.
“The lack of embankments has caused the river to change its course and eventually eat up significant portions of farmlands and communities in the area,” she said.
Fuentes said their recent monitoring showed that the gap between the river and some local communities has been reduced to only around 30 meters due to the continuing soil erosion.
Hundreds of hectares of farmlands in the two municipalities had been wiped out in the last several years due to the massive erosion along the banks of the heavily-silted Allah River.
Allah River, which is among the biggest natural waterways in Region 12, traverses nine municipalities and a city in the provinces of South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat.
The river system, which has caused severe flooding in portions of the area in the past several years, drains towards the Liguasan Marsh and the Rio Grande de Mindanao.
Fuentes said the river embankment project will initially cover portions of Barangays Dajay and Ambalgan in Sto Nino town.
She said it will include the rehabilitation of the approaches of a steel bridge that connects Sto. Nino town and the upland villages of Surallah and Lake Sebu towns.
The official said the rehabilitation works will also cover the Halilan Bridge in Lake Sebu that was earlier damaged due to a flashflood in the area.
Fuentes said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is now working on the bidding and the awarding of the project’s contract.
She said DPWH officials were pushing for the completion of the bidding and awarding process before the election ban on infrastructure projects on March 29.
“We’re hoping that all these processes will be completed before the deadline to facilitate the construction of the projects before the start of the rainy season in June,” she added. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)