19 April 2015

Olongapo gets P60M heavy equipment to boost anti-flood program

OLONGAPO CITY - Six brand new heavy equipment worth P60M arrived here last week to help boost the city’s desilting program after it was heavily hit by floods in 2013 that caused a leptospirosis outbreak and damaged properties worth millions.

Olongapo City Mayor Rolen Paulino said the heavy equipment include an amphibious excavator, two dump trucks each with 15-ton capacity, a wheel loader, a skid steer loader, and a backhoe loader.

Funding for the procurement of these equipment was sourced through the local development council and was agreed upon by all members including barangay representatives, NGOs and POs, and was passed by the city council.

Paulino explained that when he took over the city as Mayor, he found out that the city had no heavy equipment in its inventory.

“We had no heavy equipment, that is why when the flooding subsided we had problems in clearing all the mud the was left by the flood. It was fortunate that private individuals lent us equipment, and help also came from the DWPH and 1st district Congressman Jeffrey Khonghun.” Paulino said.

The 2013 flood caused a leptospirosis out break in the city, recording almost 600 cases and taking the lives of 11 people, some of them from the Province of Bataan and Zambales.

The main river channel of Barangay Kalaklan up to Barangay Sta. Rita and Old Cabalan remained untouched for years. The main drainage system in the city was also left clogged, a combination leading to the massive flooding in the city in 2013.

The only equipment left in the city was a dredging machine which cannot handle the task of going into small river channels because of its limited capability and recently was deemed unserviceable.

“Aside from it (dredging machine) being allegedly over priced which cost the city P89M and not suitable for our terrain, it was already a wreck when we tried to repair it, it worked for a month and it totally failed.” Paulino said.

“Now the city has 6 brand new heavy equipment worth only P60M versatile enough to desilt our rivers and water ways but at the same time can do other things compared to the old dredging machine that is unfit for us here and cost more than these new machine we purchased,” Paulino added.

To date, the local government, with the help of the Department of Public Works and Highways, has been desilting the mouth of Kalaklan River which is the main water channel connecting the city to the ocean. According to Mayor Paulino the mouth of the river has been heavily silted.

Private individuals have been helping the city in its effort to unclog its water ways and drainage system.

“With this brand new equipment, we can desilt our water ways whole year round and not have to contract out anything, plus we can use them for other purposes.” Paulino said.

Heavy equipment procured by the Olongapo City government to boost its desilting program.