BALANGA CITY, Bataan- Mayor Joet S. Garcia led the city in planting 13,000 seedlings of various species of hardwood trees during a tree planting activity dubbed,“Alay Tanim” 13.13.13: “Pagtatanim ng Labing-tatlong Libong Puno sa Taong Dalawampu at Labing-tatlo Bilang Paggunita sa Ika-Labing-tatlong Anibersaryo ng Lungsod” in the uplands of Barangay Tuyo on Tuesday, as part of the city’s annual tree planting program.
The project brought more meaning to Garcia’s 42ndbirthday as he opted to sweat it out along with cityhall employees, barangay officials, NGO’s and local school officials to start a massive reforestation to help address the global climate change besetting the country and the rest of the world.
A younger brother of Governor Abet Garcia, bothsons of incumbent 2nd District Congressman Enrique “Tet” Garcia, Mayor Joet said that this massive reforestation program was conceived to offer a solution to the flooding problem, after flash floods hit Balanga City and other low lying barangays a few months ago, the worst to hit the city in recent years.
Garcia said that city government intends to plant a million trees to cover a sizeable area in the city’s uplands and make the project sustainable through the years leading to year 2020. “Let’s nip the problem in the bud before it gets worse. By that time, flash floods would be unheard of in this city,” pointed out Mayor Garcia.
According to the Mayor, this could also be solvedby resuming the dredging operations at Sibacan-Cataning River which was started in 2011 but was not completed since DPWH had to prioritize the desilting of Pampanga rivers in 2012. “Due to soil erosion the city’s waterways and rivers are already heavily silted, clogging the flow of rain water that causes these river systems to overflow,” said Garcia.
The Mayor added that the city government had been requesting from DPWH dredging equipments since 2008. Said request has now turned in the form of an appeal to the national government and DPWH to consider this request as urgent.
It may be remembered that the last dredging and desilting of the city’s waterways and rivers were conducted way back during the time of former mayor, now governor Abet Garcia, more than 10 years ago.
Aside from dredging, the city and the Bataan provincial government have lined up several flood control projects to be implemented in the next few months before the onset of rainy season.
In another related development, Congressman TetGarcia also appealed to DPWH secretary Rogelio Singson to rent dredging machines to likewise conduct immediate dredging operations along the heavily siltedwaterways and rivers in other municipalities in the province, otherwise, he said “Bataan will pay dearly if it won’t act now.”