“We want to help,” says Wo Dongmei, Deputy General Manager of China National Electric Engineering Company’s (CNEEC) 5th Engineering Department, in her meeting with officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DPWH-ARMM) on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 at the agency’s office.
Wo refers to the recurring flooding problem, that has affected thousands of families, in the Municipality of Sultan Kudarat, Sultan Mastura and Cotabato City, in the past decade.
Together with DPWH National Office, Woodfields Engineering Company (WEC) and DPWH-ARRMM officials, CNEEC engineers and specialists looked into the problem as well as the existing flood control management projects proposed to address the problem.
WEC is the company providing consulting services for the detailed engineering design of various flood control projects in the Mindanao River Basin (MRB).
Almost 20% of the area covered in the MRB is within the Muslim Mindanao region, with Rio Grande de Mindanao, Tamontaka, Ambal-Simuay and Pulangi rivers running through many of its populated and flood-prone communities.
CEENC, who is now looking into the MRB flood control project, is a state-owned international engineering company based in Beijing providing energy and hydraulic engineering services, with operations in more than 70 countries.
DPWH-ARMM Secretary Don Mustapha Loong showed confidence as CNEEC, one of the biggest firms in China, is partnering with DPWH-ARMM in the development of the region.
Among big projects handled before by CEENC are the flood control and drainage in once flood-prone southern provinces of Li Shui and Tai Zhou and communities along Dong Tiao and Xiang Rivers in China.
Wo and her team of engineers together with Secretary Loong and Maguindanao First District Engineering Office Chief, Nash Ibrahim, personally inspected sections of the Rio Grande de Mindanao, Pulangi and Simuay rivers in Cotabato City and Sultan Mastura.
Under the proposed plan derived from WEC’s studies on MRB, flood control measures to prevent flooding in Cotabato City would require dredging and embankment on the 8.1 kilometer stretch of the Rio Grande de Mindanao from the city going to Illana Bay. Increase in width, dredging and embankment of the 5.1 kilometer Simuay cut-off channel will also have to be undertaken.
According to CEENC engineer Wang Chong, the earlier study on MRB by WEC will prove a great help and is supplemental in their conduct of their own feasibility study of the project.
With the scale of the project, Wang and Wo said that money will not be an issue and that the government of China is willing to spend any amount of resources and support for the project.
Wo also added that their government has ordered the project to start as soon as possible.
Secretary Loong believes things will move forward after meeting with CNEEC.
“We are happy with things moving forward. With the inspection of the Simuay River and the Rio Grande de Mindanao by our office and China National Electrica Engineering Company, we hope that the project will start soon so that we can address and stop the flooding in Sultan Kudarat and Cotabato City the soonest possible,” said Loong.
Loong added that “this [project] is part of the thrust of the Duterte administration to expedite infrastructure development in Mindanao.”