DUMAGUETE CITY – Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo has disclosed a planned multi-million-peso development project for the Banica River to include the construction/completion of the dikes on both sides and bridges to replace the spillways that were destroyed during Wednesday evening’s heavy flooding.
Mayor Remollo, in an interview Thursday afternoon, showed reporters a blueprint of the PHP540-million project that aims to construct the dikes in the 12-kilometer stretch of the Banica River, the opening up of side roads/bike paths, landscape sidewalk, and pedestrian lighting, among others.
This does not include the construction of bridges, estimated at PHP50 million each, to replace the two box culvert spillways that collapsed after the Banica River overflowed due to continuous heavy rains Wednesday through Thursday, causing massive flooding in many parts of the city.
According to the mayor, even before Wednesday’s flooding, he already had the project profile for the development of Banica River with the help of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in the now-defunct Negros Island Region or Region 18.
Now that Region 18 has been dissolved, Mayor Remollo said he will have to submit the same to Region 7, to which Negros Oriental now belongs, for possible inclusion in the 2018 budget.
He expressed hope that there will be no opposition to the proposal, stressing the need for the Banica River’s rehabilitation because of its perennial flooding problems that pose a threat to the lives and properties of people living close to the river banks.
Remollo said he received a call from Presidential Adviser for the Visayas, Mike Lloyd Dino, asking what assistance is needed, after learning of Wednesday’s flooding in Dumaguete.
According to Remollo, he has asked Dino to help him secure funding, perhaps from the national government, for the rehabilitation/development of the Banica River and for the construction of three bridges as well.
In the event that the proposal will not be included in the 2018 national budget, the Dumaguete mayor said he will have to convince the city council to have it included in the city’s budget for next year or through a loan as the city does not have the amount needed for the project.
Meanwhile, the mayor assured he will immediately order the repair of the damaged spillways that connect Colon Extension to Bagacay and Barangay Taclobo to Bagacay.
Traffic in Dumaguete has worsened after the spillways were destroyed.
Remollo added that these box culvert spillways are just temporary to allow vehicles to take shorter routes to their destinations and to avoid heavy traffic in the city’s central district.
“This is a real problem that has to be addressed, that is why I had the DPWH help me make an estimate” for the Banica River development project,” Remollo said.