PINUKPUK, Kalinga – A top provincial executive clarified that the primary intention of the published petition of land owners from the locality affected by the planned put up of the P5.5 billion Chico River mega-dike project is to seek the assistance of Gov. Jocel C. Baac to bring to the Department of Public works and Highways–Lower Kalinga Engineering District (DPWH)LKED) their plight for just compensation and the conduct of public consultations prior to the put up of the project.
Provincial Administrator Henry Gupaal said the petitioners never insinuated in the published petition that Gov. Baac was the one who wants the project stopped but instead, they aired their sentiments against the DPWH-LKED for their failure to be included in the land owners to be compensated by the project when part of their properties will be traversed by the planned put up of a flood control structure in the area.
“Governor Baac never initiated moves to stop the project. What the land owners want from him is for his intervention to help them bring to the attention of the concerned government agency their plight for just compensation, the conduct of the required public consultations so that the local officials and residents will be able to provide their inputs and the presentation of the required comprehensive master plan for the project to be approved by the Provincial Development Council,” Gupaal stressed.
The provincial official claimed it is unfortunate that there are some individuals who want to sow confusion regarding the project by providing concerned local officials with misleading information that will create unsolicited rifts among them when it should not be the case because most local officials and the people are supportive of the implementation of development projects, provided that, the identified development projects will pass the through the necessary processes.
According to him, it will be unfair to Gov. Baac to be blamed for something that he never intended to do but what happened was that there was a petition from certain land owners who will be affected by the mega-dike project who sought his assistance through a published petition so that the issues and concerns they want to raise against the project will be brought to the attention of the concerned government agency.
Gupaal claimed that up to date, the DPWH-LKED has not yet submitted to the PDC the comprehensive master plan for the Chico River mega-dike project so that it will be scrutinized and evaluated by experts if it conforms with the prevailing demand of the times before the same will be endorsed once the PDC members will find merit to the implementation of the project.
The P5.5 billion Chico river mega-dike project is composed of an 18-kilometer long and 300-meter wide flood control that will effectively and efficiently address the perennial flooding in the 16 barangays of lower Tabuk City and 5 barangays of Pinukpuk. It will also include the put up of an airport, business and ecotourism center that will boost the investment potentials of the lower Kalinga area.
The project will be funded by the DPWH through a multi-year obligation that will permanently solve the flooding of the affected areas and will lessen the expenses of the city and provincial governments in the dredging and re-channeling of the river system.