PRRD IN CAGAYAN. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte interacts with the families affected by Typhoon Ulysses in Barangay Iraga, Solana, Cagayan following an aerial survey of severely affected areas on Nov. 15, 2020.  He was accompanied by Senator Christopher Go. (Presidential photo by Ace Morandante)


MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday expressed support for a Bicol River Basin which may help minimize incidences of flooding through improved storage capacity of rivers and lakes.

This, after Presidential Adviser for Bicol Affairs Marvel Clavecilla mentioned a Bicol River Basin project which was discontinued because of lack of funding and social impact to residents living in the area.

“There was that suggestion, Mr. President that three barangays in Baao should be developed as an impounding area and they call it the Phantom Baao Lake. Meaning to say, during heavy flooding the water will be impounded in that area and during dry season, we can plant other crops there. But it will have a social impact in some three barangays in Bao, they considered that so they abandoned that plan. However, we can pursue that,” he said.

Duterte backed Clavecilla’s suggestion, noting that residents should be convinced that relocating to safer communities would also be beneficial to them.

“If it is a good plan and you are really determined to build your catch basin dito (here), you just have to move the people but convince them na ang (that the) social impact niyan (of that) is housing…you have to equal the quality and the kind of house that they have,” he said.

He said a Bicol River Basin should be pursued since it may also reduce losses due to disasters and other hazards.

“This is a good one. If you can construct a basin, you could have minimized the destruction. Kaya dapat i-pursue ‘yan (That’s why it should be pursued) … If you can start, I’d be happy to help you there,” he said in a situation briefing in Camarines Sur.

Clavecilla, meanwhile, vowed to coordinate with the provincial government, Department of Public Works and Highways, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to rehabilitate the Bicol River Basin.

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), Typhoon “Rolly” affected 90 percent of households in the Bicol Region.

Bicol Region suffered PHP7.2 billion in damages to infrastructure and PHP2.3 billion in damages to agriculture, the NDRRMC added. (PNA)