CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — Department of Public Works and Highways Sec. Manuel Bonoan on Monday approved the provincial government’s request to undertake emergency engineering interventions to prevent destructive rockslides on Mt. Arayat in order to save communities on its foothills.
According to Pampanga Gov. Dennis ‘Delta’ Pineda, Sec. Bonoan committed more than P100 million as initial funds for the quick fix measures.
This was gleaned during their meeting with Pampanga Rep. Aurelio ‘Dong’ Gonzales, Governor Pineda’s executive assistant Angelina Blanco, Department of Public Works Central Luzon Director Roseller Tolentino, Department of Environment and Natural Resources Regional Executive Director Paquito Moreno, Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Director Alilo Ensomo Jr., regional MGB chief geologist Noel Lacadin and provincial government environment and natural resources officer Arthur Punsalan.
“Pagtulung-tulungan natin yung maaari nating gawin. Bukod sa structural interventions, gawin din natin ang environmental and social solutions,” Bonoan told officials.
The DPWH, he said, would install debris flow barriers in five areas. He ordered studies for long-term solutions, including sabo dams, to minimize the hazards.
After aerial and ground surveys done last Nov. 10, the MGB estimated 71,350.60 cubic meters of rocks equivalent to 3,963 truckloads on Sapang Maeyagas, which is some four kilometers away from Barangay San Juan Baño.
The rocks accumulated since Typhoon Ondoy in 2009, increasing in volume after super typhoons Karding and Paeng struck last September and October, leaving two new gashes on the summit of the inactive volcano. Landslides during Ondoy killed 12 people include children.
Aside from hazards assessments, the provincial government has installed sensors for rainfall, earthquakes and ground movements through the Mt. Arayat Early Warning System. It has formed the Mt. Arayat Community Safety Task Force led by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, which has tagged houses in critical areas and given emergency go bags to households there.
The provincial government is also helping fund a massive bamboo tree planting by the municipal government.
“Nagpapasalamat po ako kay Secretary Bonoan sa pagbibigay ng importansya sa kapakanan at kaligtasan ng ating mga kabalen sa Arayat pati na sa katabing-bayan ng Magalang,” the governor said.
Froilan Soriano, village chief of San Juan Baño, called Bonoan’s support an “answered prayer.”
“Magandang balita po ang ihahatid ko sa aking mga kabarangay pag-uwi ko,” Soriano told Bonoan.