Flood warning mechanism sought for Pulangi communities

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News/ 04 January) – The top-most response to the floods in the communities near Pulangi River should be the setting up of water level warning mechanism, a Provincial Environment and
Natural Resources Officer told MindaNews Tuesday.

Felix Mirasol, who recently assumed as PENRO chief, said the mechanism
will help protect lives along the path of the flashfloods in the
province following the December 27 flashfloods in Valencia City that
displaced an estimated 1,146 families and washed out at least 20
houses.

Mirasol said there are existing warning mechanisms along
portions of the river such as the one used by the National Irrigation
Administration.

“It is only a matter of consolidating (and strengthening them for the
whole river system),” he said.

Mirasol said the local government unit, referring to the Provincial
Government of Bukidnon, must spearhead the project with the help of
the national government agencies.

He said that Bukidnon must learn from the Albay provincial
government’s award-winning low-cost disaster warning system which
reportedly uses recycled bottles and bells equipped with sensors.

Mirasol said the mechanism should also come as a package as it is in
Albay. He added that evacuation and relief assistance should go
automatically.

He said the mechanism should be placed in other watershed areas
in the province aside from around the Pulangi and also recommended
that the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council
must consider the mechanism in its plan, which he said is yet to be
developed.

He further said it was very difficult to present the idea before because of
the lack of experience of a big flash flood. But it is easier now, he
said, because the experience has demonstrated the need for it.

Anianita Fortich, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical
Services Administration (Pagasa)—Malaybalay weather station
meteorologist, said the
applicable devices include staff gauge to measure rainfall and flood
markers in different points along the river.

Valencia City Councilor Glenn Peduche has also proposed a Comprehensive
Rehabilitation and Development Plan for the Pulangi River system. A
former provincial board member who chaired the environment committee,
Peduche said the problem is not only about the river but an
environmental problem in general.

He said the plan should include relocation, removal of silts,
reforestation, and relocation of residents along constantly flooded
areas. “If the environment is destroyed, it drags the rest, including
agriculture, livelihood, and economy.”

Mirasol said he plans to push for the mechanism when the PDRRMC meets
again Wednesday. (Walter I. Balane)

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