Koronadal seeks nat’l gov’t help for anti-flood measures

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KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/15 Sept) – The city government here is seeking the national government’s assistance for the proposed construction of multimillion drainage structures that would help end the perennial flooding in various low-lying communities in the city.

Mayor Peter Miguel said Wednesday the City Disaster Coordinating Council (CDCC) passed a resolution appealing for the intervention of President Benigno Simenon Aquino III over the area’s flooding problems that were mainly attributed to the lack of stable flood control and drainage infrastructure.

“These projects will cost hundreds of millions pesos so we really need the help of the President and our national government agencies,” he said.

Citing recommendations from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), Miguel said the city needs to build new alternate waterways that will siphon floodwaters coming from the upland areas.

He said these structures will serve as catchment of waters flowing from the mountain ranges straddling the city and eventually divert them to the Marbel River, which is the city’s main waterway.

“We will divert the waters to the river so it will no longer flow towards the downtown area and eventually cause heavy flooding in our highways and low-lying communities,” Miguel said.

A portion of the General Santos City-Koronadal highway in Barangay Carpenter Hill here was totally shut down to traffic twice since last Friday due to heavy flooding.

The CDCC reported that rushing floodwaters brought by the heavy rains late Friday afternoon caused a portion of a dike in the area to collapse and caused knee to waist-deep floods along the highway and nearby communities.

The floods forced the closure of the highway for several hours, stranding hundreds of motorists in the area.

The heavy rains last Friday also triggered flashfloods and landslides in Barangay Assumption and in Sitio Acub in Barangay San Isidro that left five people dead and six others injured.

On Monday night, the same portion of the highway was again closed down for at least three hours due to another breach along the dike at the height of the heavy rains.

More than 200 households and business establishments within the city’s main commercial area, which includes the public market and the old city hall compound, also suffered heavy flooding Monday night due to the swelling of a creek traversing the area.

Based on the DPWH’s proposal to the local government, a diversion canal would initially be constructed from Barangay Saravia all the way to the Marbel River.

Officials of the DPWH-South Cotabato Engineering District initially estimated the project’s cost at over P50 million.

The MGB proposed for the construction of another bypass channel that would divert waters flowing from the western section of the area to the Marbel River.

The project will cover the construction of a diversion canal starting from a portion of the Bulok Creek, which currently serves as the city’s main catchment, and would pass through the sides of barangay roads leading to the Marbel River.

Jaime Flores, chief geologist of MGB Region 12, said the waters flowing at the Bulok Creek should immediately be diverted as its holding capacity has already reached its limit.

He explained that the creek’s outlet has since been converted into rice lands, forcing its waters to flow back during heavy rains.

Flores said Marbel River should serve as the area’s water catchment as it drains towards the Buluan Lake in Sultan Kudarat, which is connected to the Liguasan Marsh in Maguindanao and all the way to the Rio Grande de Mindanao and the Moro Gulf. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)

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