TABUK CITY, Kalinga – Undersecretary Dimas S. Soguilon of the Department of Public works and Highways (DPWH) Luzon Operations ordered its regional office to study the opposition raised by concerned officials and employees of the provincial government and government agencies over the P5.5 billion Chico mega-dike project.
Soguilon also directed the DPWH to submit its findings and recommendations to the project to guide them in making a decision whether or not to push through with the on-going construction activities along one of the major river systems in the Cordillera.
Earlier, Provincial Administrator transmitted to the DPWH central office Kapihan sa Kapitolyo Resolution No. 1, series of 2017 entitled “Urging the Department of Public works and Highways Lower Kalinga Engineering District to hold in abeyance the implementation of the lower Chico River flood control project pending the presentation and subsequent adoption of the master plan of the said project by the Provincial Development Council (PDC).
However, Rep. Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang said that the issues concerns on the submitted resolution were already appropriately addressed by the DPWH Lower Kalinga office that is why he remains optimistic that the project will push through after all the issues that have been raised against the project shall have been effectively and appropriately addressed.
On the other hand, a petition was also submitted to the DPWH, Kalinga provincial government and Mangaoang’s office relative to the opposition raised by concerned land owners in the areas where the intended project for the construction of river control and re-channelling of the river of Poblacion, Pinukpuk, Kalinga to the implementation of the project considering the absence of the necessary consultations required prior to the full blown implementation of the flood control project.
The heirs of Francisco Dugayon claimed that the intended project will greatly damage and seriously affect the lands where the force of the river will be re-channelled and that the land that will be traversed was allegedly declared by Francisco Dugayon, as evidenced by a tax declaration.
Further, the alleged land owners asserted that certain portions covered by the tax declaration are still dedicated for agricultural purposes and serve as means of livelihood to the present owners and possessors and that the land covered by the same declaration is a priceless remembrance from Francisco Dugayon who is their predecessor-in-interest.
“The undersigned heirs welcome the implementation of the said project for the benefit of the community of Poblacion, Taga, Pinukpuk, Kalinga but not at the expense of sacrificing the affected land which is still beneficial as a means of livelihood of the people. In fact, there can still be other alternatives to attain the objectives of the said project even without constructing a river or flood control project, the petition stated.
Moreover, the affected heirs stated that there was no proper consultations done to the concerned persons that took place before the said project was planned, designed and implemented and that re-channelling of the river will directly affect the land being owned and possessed by the affected heirs considering that the same is a manmade structure and that its destruction is difficult to accept and comprehend.
Mangaoang said that he respects the position of the purported land owners against the project but he made it clear that there were consultations that were done prior to the project and that the ones complaining only belong to one family while most of the people in the area have already given their consent for the realization of the ambitious project.
“We already explained the merits of the project and that the identified problems were given the necessary solutions that is why the motive of some individuals and groups raising their opposition against the project is really doubtful,” Mangaoang stressed.
The Kalinga lawmaker and Mountain Province caretaker congressman pointed out that the construction of a permanent structure will put an end to the perennial implementation of dredging projects along the major river system which is considered by most people in the place as a ‘milking cow’ for concerned local officials.
He emphasized that most local officials province-wide already expressed their support to the realization of the mega-dike project that is why he is wondering why there are still people who refuse to understand the benefits of the project who continue to raise issues that were already previously settled just to delay the on-going project implementation.
The P5.5 billion Chico mega-dike project will be a multi0year obligation that seeks to put an end to the perennial flooding in the 16 barangays of lower Tabuk city and the 5 flood-prone barangays of Pinukpuk town.
Mangaoang claimed the master plan for the project will be presented to the provincial government once the DPWH central office shall have completed the details for the project, thus, their complaints against the project will simply result to unnecessary delays in the programmed completion of the mega-dike project.