BAGUIO CITY – Public works officials informed members of the city council that the agency still needs at least P50 million in order to complete the long overdue rehabilitation of the 3.8-kilometer City Camp Lagoon drain tunnel to prevent perennial floodings in various barangays surrounding the inlet of the tunnel.
Appearing before Monday’s regular session of the city council, Engr. Rene Zarate, assistant district engineer of the Department of Public works and Highways – Baguio City District Engineering Office (DPWH-BCDEO), said the proposed budget was included in the agency’s 2017 in order to fully complete the uncompleted concreting works within the rehabilitated drain tunnel to prevent the unnecessary obstruction in the smooth flow of water from the inlet up to the Asin River.
The widened portion of the City Camp Lagoon tunnel has a total length of at least 2.5 kilometers with a diameter of 2.5 meters coupled with the existence of ventilation areas that will allow people to do regular maintenance works inside the tunnel, especially during the rainy and typhoon seasons where debris are expected to impede the smooth flow of water down to its outlet in Crystal Cave.
The City Camp Lagoon project was conceptualized in 2010 with an initial funding of P50 million and it was given a regular allocation up to the present making the total allocations for the project more than P400 million excluding the proposed budget for the completion of the project next year.
DPWH-BCDEO officials also denied the insinuations of some city councillors that the project was sub-contracted by the winning contractor as they claimed that it was the contractor who hired his chosen mining engineer and architect for the project to help him in the implementation of the programmed works aimed at addressing the perennial flooding within the low-lying barangays within the City Camp area.
The council invited DPWH officials to shed light on the various issues and concerns that were raised by concerned sectors regarding the prolonged implementation of the City Camp Lagoon rehabilitation project considering that there might have been a waste of public funds.
Aside from the narrow portions of the drain tunnel, the previous floodings in the City Camp barangays were due to the huge volume of garbage that clogged the narrow portions of the tunnel causing the slow draining of the water into its outlet in Crystal Cave.
The DPWH-BCDEO official also informed the city councillors that the budget for the project this year which was earmarked for the complete widening of the narrow portions of the tunnel will be completed by August this year in time for the rainy season where there will be a huge volume of water flowing into the tunnel coming from various parts of Quezon Hill, Dominican Hill and other barangays along Naguilian road.
Part of the project was the installation of screens along the waterways which are tributaries to the City Camp Lagoon drain tunnel in order to prevent garbage from being washed down into the tunnel that will contribute to the cloggings of the tunnel resulting to perennial floodings in the affected barangays.
By Dexter A. See