DAVAO CITY–Perennial recurrence of floods in most parts of Mindanao gathered together government planners into a two-day technical session with the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) on the lead on August 14 to 15, 2013 in this city, officials said.
Mainly, the technical session took up the review of the feasibility studies (FS) on four flood control projects in Mindanao.
ED Engineer Ampatuan said these four flood control projects have principally recommended in the Mindanao River Basin Integrated Management and Development Master Plan which has been completed recently. Inputs from the technical meeting would be incorporated with revised feasibility studies. The meeting also pointed to prioritize urgent interventions in the MRB, she said.
Aside from Executive Order No. 50 which mandates MinDA to oversee development programs and completion of the studies, President Benigno C. Aquino III in Davao City has also tasked the agency to fast-track flood control projects in Mindanao during his recent visit here, according to officials.
Quoting assurances from Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, MinDA officials said flood control programs would receive sufficient budgetary support under the department’s 2014 National Expenditure Program (NEP).
The four projects presented were original and revised FS conducted and prepared by the Woodfields Consultancy Incorporated (WCI) on: 1) Rio Grande Siltation Control and Management Project; 2) Ambal-Simuay Integrated Flood Control, River Bank Protection and Rehabilitation Project;3) Pulangi River System Integrated Flood Control, River Bank Protection and Rehabilitation Project; and 4) Ala River Siltation Control and Management Project.
Of these waterways, the Rio Grande Siltation Control and Ambal-Simuay Integrated Flood Control projects emerged the most priority projects based on preset criteria, namely: a) degree of siltation, b) implementable project readiness, c) extent of damage, d) frequency of flooding, e) number of people/barangays affected, f) availability of technology, and others.
Mr. Susumo Heish, Technical Adviser of the WCI pointed to causes of flooding in Mindanao, namely: sedimentation in low-lying areas; bank scouring due to heavy meandering of river course, and the presence of floating mats of “bagombong grass”(Phragmites Australis), not merely the water hyacinth.
Indigenous options that are non-structural programs would have to be considered, including vetiver grass to counter erosion as well as the re-vegetation on cut slopes, said Noah Manarang, a vetiver specialist.(ARAM of RPDO-ARMM)