Senator Joel Villanueva joined by Gov. Daniel Fernando, Calumpit Mayor Lem Faustino, Vice Mayor Dr. Zar Candelaria and Bulacan PDRRMO chief Manuel Lukban Jr. on Tuesday during media interview when he visited the town including Hagonoy and Paombong and distributed national government aids and assistance. Photo from the Office of Senator Joel Villanueva

HAGONOY, Bulacan— Senator Joel Villanueva called it as a failure the 2023 P183-billion worth national government flood control program part of it was the P1.7 billion allotted to Bulacan when he visited the submerged Calumpit, Hagonoy and Paombong towns and distributed calamity fund and relief pack donations on Tuesday.

Back-flooding of waters from the mountainous areas or the eastern part of Bulacan, including  from the provinces of Nueva Ecija and Pampanga and the almost 2 meters, more than 5 ft. level of high tide for two days until today Thursday, August 3 continue to worsen the flooding in the said towns.

Back-flooding, is the movement downward of flood waters from the mountainous areas or eastern part of Bulacan including in Nueva Ecija and Pampanga to Manila Bay that pass through the catch basin towns of Calumpit, Hagonoy and Paombong which are along the shores of Manila Bay.

Pampanga River basin’s Candaba waters remain in critical 6.09 meters while Arayat at 7.34 meters and Sulipan in Apalit in 3.58 meters at 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday, based from the data from the Bulacan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO).  

Barangay Meysulao in Calumpit remains in 7 ft. flood waters while Barangays San Miguel, Bulusan, Gugo at Gatbuca remain in 6 ft. flood waters due to back-flooding. Areas in Baliwag, Pulilan, San Ildefonso are still in 4-5 ft flood waters including in Balagtas town.  

The back-flooding also caused 47-50 centimeter flood waters in north and south bound lanes of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) in San Simon, Pampanga area as of Wednesday morning. But NLEX officials said both the two lanes are passable. NLEX also placed sand bags to help prevent the floods.

High Tide as of 9:24 a.m. is at 1.53 meters or 5.02 ft.

Bustos Dam at 16. 54 meters against its 17.36 meters spiling level releases 28 cubic meter per second (cms) water while Ipo Dam at 101.09 meters releases 34.70 cms. Bustos Dam started the release on July 23. Ipo Dam started the release on July 27 due to strong rains brought by typhoon Egay and the southwest monsoon. Angat River spilled because of the releases and also contributed largely to the flooding in the coastal areas.

Villanueva who hails from Bocaue town which Barangay Binang 1st had been in 2-8 ft. flood water, Barangays Lolomboy and Turo up to 6 ft. because of strong rains brought by typhoon Egay and southwest monsoon, based on PDRRMO data on Wednesday, said the problem on flood in the country has been there for four decades now and is only getting worse each year instead of being addressed and solved.

“Aminin natin, palpak ang flood control program ng gobyerno lagi lagi. Four decades na iyan, one administration to another pero palpak pa rin dahil hindi tama ang proyekto and it is getting worst. Para maging tama ito, alamain natin ang totoo. Kung walang magsasabi ng katotohanan hindi ma-address ang problema,” the senator said.

He said the P183-billion flood control program of the government is left alone for the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to address and does not include the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and other concerned government agencies.

“Bulacan under that flood control project has P1.7 billion fund but look at Calumpit, Hagonoy and Paombong, they are still submerged to flood. There’s really a problem that should be addressed and the government flood control program is not addressing this problem,” the senator added.

According to the senator, there should be a concrete and an over-all master plan of flood control programs and projects.  

Villanueva agreed on President Marcos statement of creating a Department of Water. But he said, a proposed result of a feasibility study should be strictly adhered to and implemented. 

“We see the problem is there. We implemented a program in one particular town, but then the flooding just moved to the next adjacent town and it continues from one place to the next,” the senator also said.

Asked if he supports the Mega Dike project proposal of Bulacan Governor Daniel Fernando, the Bocaue native senator said he supports such a project but it should be part of the master plan of flood control program in the country.

“Typhoon Egay costs us P800-million in damages, it is just one typhoon, we have up to 20 typhoons in a year,” the solon further said.

The Senator filed Senate Resolution No. 693 to look into the plans and programs of the government for flood protection programs and urban drainage system in the country

Hagonoy residents brace for the worst floods to hit their town as back-flooding starts on Sunday and a 5.2 ft. level of high tide was up until Thursday, August 3. Photo taken on Tuesday in Barangay Sto. Nino by Anton Luis Catindig

Fernando through Panlalawigang Kapasiyahan Blg. 579-T’2023 yesterday, July 31 declared Bulacan under state of calamity as almost all the province 24 towns and cities had been affected of flood due to typhoon Egay and southwest monsoon and an initial nearly P90-million worth of damages to agriculture excluding the damages to infrastructure.    

The governor on Monday declared Bulacan under state of calamity through a Sangguniang Panlalawigan resolution proposed by Vice Gov. Alexis C. Castro after typhoon Egay, enhanced by the southwest monsoon, 228,648 families had been affected by floods in 171 out  of 572 barangays in the province.

Also, the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) noted that 21,367 individuals or 5,631 families were evacuated to safer grounds.

The governor and the vice governor after distributing relief goods on Monday proceeded to Congress and attended a committee hearing where they appealed to the members of the congress to help immediately pass House Bill Resolution No. 6559, the “Comprehensive and Integrated Flood Prevention Control Defense and Management System for the Province of Bulacan and Appropriating Funds Therefore,” filed December last year.

Bulacan Representatives–City of San Jose del Monte Lone District Rep. Rida Robes, First District Danilo Domingo, Second District Augustina Dominique Pancho, Third District Lorna Silverio, Fourth District Linabelle Villarica , Fifth District Ambrosio Cruz Jr. and Sixth District Salvador Pleyto  filed the said bill.