|Angat Dam as seen fromHilltopobservation deck. DB|
Text messages and rumors has been spreading in Bulacan about a massive flood this March in relation to planned rehabilitation of the Angat Dam.
Unfortunately, both messages are not true.
No flood will inundate Bulacan this March, unless there is a massive typhoon that will hit the province and Angat Dam in particular.
So far, typhoon entering the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) are tracked by the weather bureau down south.
How about the rehabilitation of Angat Dam?
Well, you got played by some creative minds out there.
Contrary to information you received, it rehabilitation of the Angat Dam will not start anytime soon.
For starters, where’s the fund? And who will finance the P5.7B rehabilitation of Angat Dam.
If you are following or monitoring news reports, you probably read or heard that the P5.7B allocated by the national government was withhold.
Meaning no fund is released.
Because in late last year, (early September) the Supreme Court affirmed the winning bid of Korea-Water Resources Corporation (K-Water) for the 246-megawatt Angat River Hydro Electric Power Plant (Arhepp).
According to Gerry Esquivel, administrator of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), part of the K-Water contract is spending for the rehabilitation of the dam.
Take note that aside from Esquivel, the same information was affirmed by Gladys Sta. Rita, the president of National Power Corporation (Napocor).
Napocor is a government own and controlled corporation (GOCC) which manages Arhepp.
Take not also that MWSS and Napocor are the ones speaking, not K-Water.
K-Water had not issued any statement in relation to possible allocation of fund for Angat Dam rehab.
It is maybe due to the fact that until now, K-Water has not formally take-over of the Arhepp.
Going back to the issue on whether Angat Dam rehabilitation will take place this summer.
The answer is unlikely.
First, K-Water have to assume management of Arhepp (which they failed todo in December, 2013, January 2014 and might not be able to do this March 25.)
Second, in case of K-Water take-over, will they assume the responsibility of allocating billions of pesos in the rehabilitation of 45-year old Angat Dam?
Third, in case K-Water assume responsibility after taking over, will they use the six month feasibility study on the integrity of the Angat Dam conducted by Tonkin & Taylor and Engineering Development Corporation of the Philippines from December 2011 to may 2012?
Fourth, or will K-Water conduct another study to expand earlier study by Tonkin and Edcop. Bulakenyo dam safety expert Engr. Roderick Dela Cruz who is based in the US estimated that another study will take another two to three years.
These are some of the inconvenient truths about the Angat Dam that every Bulakenyo should know and share with others for intelligent decision.
Now, the question is what we should do aside from praying.
It time that we ask our local officials what do they know about this issue and come up with doable plans while we wait for the rehabilitation of the Angat Dam. Dino Balabo