CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/26 January) – The government is relying on a Japanese technology called Sabo dams to prevent future disasters similar to the Dec. 17, 2011 flood that destroyed entire villages in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities.
In his talk at the Xavier Ecoville, the resettlement site in Barangay Lumbia, President Benigno Aquino III vowed that the Sendong tragedy would not be repeated in the future by building a Sabo dam costing about P920 million upriver in Cagayan de Oro.
A similar plan is also made to construct a Sabo dam in the Mandulog River in Iligan City to prevent future floods from devastating the villages below.
But what exactly is a Sabo dam?
According to the website of the Department of Works and Public Highways, constructing permanent structural interventions upstream of rivers, among them the Sabo dam technology, has been proven effective in containing water, sedimentation and flood debris.
Two Sabo dams were already constructed along Hubangon River in Camiguin which was devastated by typhoon Nanang in 2001.
Popularized in Japan, Sabo dams are constructed upstream of rivers or exits of valleys to catch debris flow during flash floods.
Smaller by traditional dam standards, Sabo dams are usually constructed with control gates to allow debris to pass through during normal conditions but prevent large-scale debris flow during flash floods, according to the Japan-based International Sabo Network.
“Constructing these dams will prevent future floods from devastating Cagayan de Oro and Iligan again in the future,” President Aquino said.
Aye Navarro, one of the owners of whitewater rafting units in Cagayan de Oro, said they are asking the DPWH to include their group in any consultation before the dam construction starts.
Navarro said the whitewater rafting industry, a major tourism earner in Cagayan de Oro, might be affected if proper studies on its impact are not made. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)