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Gasan, A “Flood Control” Community

By: Danica Supnet

Now I know why there are no scheduled flights to Marinduque by any airlines. The airport, located in Gasan, is under renovation.

Gasan is my next and final stop in Marinduque. It’s a 3rd class municipality that was awarded the Department of Interior and Local Government’s Seal of Good Housekeeping in 2011. I’m here to track how the PCF incentive was utilized to the disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation (DRR-CCA) project in the municipality and investigate the project site (including monitoring of the projects current physical state).

An LGU that is able to comply with the requirements and standards of the Seal becomes eligible for the PCF incentive. The town of Gasan chose to use the PCF incentive to fund a flood control project along the river beside the municipal market. According to Ms Bernadette Lasie, the DILG-Municipal Government Operations Officer (DILG-MGOO) of Gasan, the seal was awarded last 2011 but the turnover of the 1 million incentives was only given last 2013. This is the reason why the flood control project was only started and completed in 2013. A flood control project is understandably listed as a DRR-CCA project in the PCF.

On my fieldwork day (March 13, 2014—Thursday), Bernadette Lasie, fetched me from the place where I was staying. Arriving at the munisipyo, Ms Lasie introduced me to the Municipal Engineer, Emilio Sosa, who is also in charge of the flood control project.

Ms Lasie and Engr. Sosa eagerly answered my questions and showed me documents pertaining to the project. As a take home, they gave me photocopies of the documents. The documents include accomplishment reports, report of disbursement, certificate of acceptance, project completion report, and even the blue print of the project. As usual, LGUs show openness, warmth and trust — the very same quality demonstrated by friends I’ve made in the DILG.

“Halos lahat ng DRR-CCA projects dito sa Gasan ay naka-laan sa Flood Control”—Engr. Sosa (Most of the DRR-CCA projects here in Gasan are allotted to a flood control project)

I was very surprised when Engr. Sosa and Ms Lasie toured me around the town. In every area near the river you can see a flood control dike; we even passed by an on-going flood control project.In fact, even the shore is protected with a flood control dike. According to Ms Lasie geographically the town is looped by a river system that goes out into the Sian Sea. Also, Gasan is one of the more mountainous areas in Marinduque.

Historically, she added, flooding is considered the most reported incident

during typhoon periods in Gasan—especially in areas near where the shore and river connect. (Also known as the high risk area, according to Engr. Sosa) In response, municipal and the barangay officials recognized the issue and took steps to address the problem, largely through flood control dikes.

Aside from the PCF incentive, other flood control projects were built using the municipal development fund and disaster fund. It would not be incorrect to call Gasan a “Flood Control” municipality.

I can’t say that the town is “flood controlled”, however, as the end of the flood control dike is noticeable because of the open river and a non-concrete side. These are areas farther from the town proper. “kulang yung 1 million ng PCF kaya kailangan naming hanapan ng bagong pondo yung kadugtong ng PCF project”—Engr. Sosa (The 1 million incentive from PCF is not enough, we need to find other sources of budget for the extension of the PCF project)

Eventually I was able to meet the municipal mayor, Victoria Lim. Unfortunately we were not able to chat for long because her throat was strained due to a long talk she had delivered. But she was very eager to have her picture taken with me and she later arranged for the transportation assistance I needed.

Ms Lasie toured me around Boac, the capital of Marinduque, which is just 30 minutes away from Gasan. We even visited the Provincial division of the DILG. There I finally met Ms Joyce Ricardo, who made all the engagements I’ve had in Gasan possible. I’m most thankful for her generosity. And of course, I won’t leave Marinduque without ing some

souvenirs and their famous pasalubong—arrowroot cookies. This marks the end of my fieldwork in Marinduque.

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