Soil erosion causes concern in Aklan

KALIBO, Aklan—Various national and local government agencies in the province are bracing for the worsening problem of soil erosion and other environmental problems along the Aklan River, the third-longest river in Panay Island.

Engr. Noel L. Fuentebella, head of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) District Office in Aklan, said the soil erosion might be triggered by climate change and the fast development of human settlement.

“Since 1990s the DPWH has observed these problems on soil erosion along the 71-kilometer stretch of the Aklan River. Besides the river, other areas in the province were also affected by the soil erosion. We, in the DPWH, however, are still in control of the situation,” Fuentebella said.

As a result of soil erosion, sand bars also occurred in the river. This causes the river to spread out threatening towns, especially the low-lying capital of Kalibo to be flooded during heavy rains.

The DPWH has deployed several backhoes and other equipment along the risky areas in Kalibo and Banga municipality to immediately repair eroded areas in order to avoid harm.

Besides monitoring Aklan River, the DPWH is also checking areas along the irrigation canals, which are experiencing lack of water. The irrigation canals provide water to the farmlands in the province. “If this continues, the rice production in the province may be affected due to the absence of water in the field,” said Engr. Wilson Rey, head of the National Irrigation Administration in Aklan and Capiz provinces.

Meanwhile, municipality of Libacao Mayor Charito Navarosa has ordered an investigation of an explosion at the hinterland area of Barangay Dalagsaan, Libacao, last Monday.

In an interview last Thursday, Navarosa said three affected residents have reported that their houses were flown by the strong explosion that also caused crack on the soil and landslide.

The mayor added that he has asked the concerned barangay officials to investigate the incident.

As of this writing, the three residents were asked to go to the población for their safety. They were interviewed by the social-welfare officers upon their arrival last Friday.

“The rang of the explosion was around 1 hectare. I still have to determine from the residents if anybody was injured,” Navarosa said. The result of the investigation by the barangay officials will be submitted to the Environment Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The residents feared that the explosion was caused by the presence of a volcano. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, however, said there is no volcano in the area.

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Jun Ariolo N. Aguirre has been working as a correspondent in Business Mirror since June 2017. He studied his Bachelor of Arts major in Journalism at the Centro Escolar University. In 2012, he was recruited as a member of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Aklan chapter and has been since a member of the board of directors. He was then immersed in series of trainings and seminars related to business. He currently covers Boracay Island and the rest of provinces in Panay Island.