‘Substandard’ dike destroys rice fields in 2 North Cotabato towns

KIDAPAWAN CITY—An alleged substandard flood-control dike was totally washed out by flashfloods yesterday, affecting at least 25 hectares of rice fields in the towns of Magpet and President Roxas in North Cotabato, officials said.

Some 20 farmers own the damaged rice fields.

Among those hit by the floods were farmers from Barangay Binay in Magpet and Barangays Tuael, Idaoman and Kamarahan, all in President Roxas town, according to Barangay Binay chairwoman Evelinda Baliguat.

Baliguat said that in her village, the floods destroyed at least 10 hectares of rice fields, most of which are already ready for harvest.

Mario Calayco, chairman of Barangay Poblacion in President Roxas, said that rice farms in the low-lying villages of Tuael, Idaoman, and Kamarahan could no longer be recovered because of the floodwaters.

“The area was inundated when floodwaters from the Kabacan River could no longer be contained after the dike was totally destroyed,” said Calayco.

Baliguat said she learned that some P10 million allotted for the rehabilitation of the flood control dike has long been downloaded to the proper agency.

“We do not know why the construction has not started since we already reported the damage to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in North Cotabato,” said Baliguat..

The dike’s construction was completed in 2009, the village chair said.

In July 2010, Baliguat said they monitored a crack in the dike.

Magpet Mayor Efren Pinol has also reported the damage to the DPWH, alleging that the materials used in the construction were “sub-standard.”

“We’ve expected the structure to collapse since the materials that were used were of low quality,” Pinol said.

Chairmen Calayco and Baliguat have expressed fears that if the dike would not be rehabilitated soon, the damage to persons, properties, and agricultural areas could be massive.

The DPWH in North Cotabato could not be reached for comment. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)