DAGUPAN CITY – The long-term flood and disaster mitigation measures in the city were discussed when officials of Dagupan City held a scientific study meeting with experts from different fields at Star Plaza Hotel on October 3.

Among those present were architects and engineers from various organizations such as the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP), Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers (PICE), as well as national and local agencies such as Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), and the Dagupan City Water District, among others.

Members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) who attended the meeting were Councilors Joey Tamayo, Dennis Canto, Jeslito “Jigs” Seen and Liga ng mga Barangay President Dean Bryan Kua. Also in attendance were the city department heads headed by City Administrator Atty. Farah Decano.

The meeting aimed to gather inputs, opinions and suggestions from experts in various fields regarding the design and adaptation for resilient structures in the city.

Mayor Belen T. Fernandez formally opened the event by giving a complete presentation on the current state of the city as well as its past and ongoing projects for flood mitigation.

Resource speakers also gave out presentations during the meeting.

Chief Meteorological Officer Jose Estrada, Jr. of PAGASA Dagupan discussed weather conditions nowadays in the city, citing how an equivalent of six months of rain dumped in a span of just a few days, contributed to the extreme inundation in the city in the last few months.

Engr. John Zamora of the Local Zoning Board of Appeals (LZBA) of Dagupan and Dean of the College of Engineering in University of Pangasinan (UPang), presented studies that determined the crucial role of road lifeline during natural disaster rescue operations.

Zamora disclosed how road elevations give life to the economy and is critical in the progress of a city. He also commended the city government for its numerous road elevation projects which allow transportation to be accessible particularly for disaster operations.

“Having elevated roads is crucial in Dagupan City so that there will be a continuous flow of activity. Whenever there is flooding, roads should be accessible to give way for rescue operations,” said Engr. Zamora.

Arch. Melchor Serapion of the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) – Pangasinan-Dagupan Chapter discussed designs of resilient and innovative structures that may be put up in the city.

This, after presenting how the growing man-to-land ratio necessitates more build up projects in the city. He also cited the importance of projects to be developed vertically to maximize space and prepare for calamities such as storm surges, tsunamis and earthquakes.

General Manager Engr. Adelfo Valle of the Dagupan City Water District discussed the planned water reservoir projects and septage management.

Dr. Andreas Kippe of Flood Control Asia also presented disaster mitigating measures done in other areas which can be replicated and improved on in the city.

Guests were also able to ask questions from the experts during an open forum held at the event.

Mayor Belen T. Fernandez, in her closing remarks, underscored the importance of the implementation of the “build up” strategy in the city.

“With the flooding being a problem in Dagupan and all nearby towns, we want to make sure that land owners will not lose their investment once they build houses or buildings. We also want to ensure that all developers are going to follow the build-up strategy that we would like to implement for everyone, as the city government is also doing our build up on roads and drainage and other projects,” said Fernandez. (Verdelle De Vera/CIO)