TABUK CITY, Kalinga – The multi-million feasibility study of the proposed P5.5 billion Chico mega dike project geared on providing a permanent solution to the perennial flooding in the lower barangays of this city and nearby Pinukpuk town is underway and will commence in the coming months.
Engr. Ruby Oyam, district engineer of the Department of Public Works and Highways – Lower Kalinga District Engineering Office (DPWH-LKDEO), stated that the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused a serious delay in the completion of the feasibility study because the prevailing restrictions on the movement of people prevented the consultants from being able to complete the study.
She said that the DPWH central office earmarked some P130 million for the ongoing feasibility study of the Chico mega dike project to ascertain the funds that will be required to pursue the project that will provide the long overdue permanent solution to the perennial flooding in the lower parts of the city and nearby towns.
Earlier, the DPWH-LKDEO proposed that the multi-billion project will be implemented through a multi-year obligation of the required funds that was supposed to have started in 2017 and will be completed next year.
However, Oyam disclosed that the DPWH central office decided to conduct the feasibility study of the project so that whatever funding requirement will be included in the package of foreign-assisted projects that will be taken from either the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) or the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The district engineer admitted that there is a need to complete the feasibility study of the project this year so that whatever funding requirement will already be included in future packages of foreign-assisted projects so that the project will be realized even beyond the present administration for the welfare of the greater majority of the people of Kalinga and nearby provinces.
Part of the aforesaid project is the construction of an 18-kilometer long and 300-meter-wide flood control along the Chico River to serve as an alternate road with identified government and business centers. The plan also envisions putting up an airport along the main river system that will contribute in linking the city and the province through air transportation.
Even Kalinga Rep. Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang claimed that the province’s high impact development project will not be completed by next year but he assured that the same will be completed during the term of the next administration with the expected inclusion of the project in a number of projects funded through the government’s overseas development assistance that will be sourced out from various international funding institutions.
Mangaoang asserted that the completion of the multi-billion Chico mega dike project will serve as a legacy of the present administration to the overall growth and development of Tabuk City and Kalinga as the city and the province is being envisioned by the Regional Development Council (RDC) in the Cordillera as the regional center because of the availability of adequate land area that could accommodate the expansion of concerned government agencies and the investments that will be infused by businesses wanting to put up their businesses in the region. By HENT