Quinta, Caycay and mega dam


In the town of Oton, the biggest and most beautiful church in Panay which was not destroyed during the war was severely damaged that it had to be demolished . The earthquake also destroyed the tower leaving only two bells and stone stumps (Gallende 1990). A boy was buried in the rubble. Intensity 9 was assigned in these places.Generally speaking, bridges, communication lines, public and private buildings all sustained heavy damages (Manila Times, January 26, 1948).

In the aftermath of Typhoon Quinta (December 25-27, 2012), flotsams like plastics stuck on tree branches and power lines, about six meters high in Banate, Iloilo. They are indicators of the height the floodwater reached.

Quinta drenched Iloilo starting December 25 afternoon until 27th morning, though it still drizzled until evening. On the 26th, the radio reported one person in San Miguel town and another in Pototan drowned, while another was missing.

The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) opened the gates of the Moroboro Dam, Dingle afternoon of 26th that turned things uglier. Radio updates kept people on their toes. People on the path were alerted of the opening of the floodgate but did not expect its magniture. Floods swept farm lands and roads cutting off Dingle town, Duenas and Passi City from one another. The river in Passi rose to the level of the bridge. The torrents washed out earthen shoulders of concrete roads making them look like embankments.

Moroboro’s flood swept Dingle, Duenas, Passi City, Mina, Pototan, Barotac Nuevo, Zarraga, Anilao, Banate and Barotac Viejo killing 15 and destroying 3,000 homes.

Which leads us to Sen. Franklin Drilon trumpeting the “biggest” government project in Iloilo’s history, the P11.1 billion mega dam called Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project II to be erected in Calinog. The Korean Economic Cooperation Fund is plunking P8.9 billion while the Philippines P2.2 billion counterpart. Korea is already assured of P500 million profits, from Filipino taxpayers.

We can’t cheer Drilon whose gift is already unmasked this early as a Trojan Horse, a disaster waiting to happen. The 43-meter dam is capable of storing water 20 times that of Moroboro. Under the same situation as Quinta, the heavens forbid, it will be unleashing the fury of 20 Moroboro dams.

The JRMPP II is 11 kilometers north of the West Panay Fault that starts from San Joaquin, Iloilo’s southernmost town, winds through Lambunao and up to Nabas, Aklan. A watershed area with receding vegetation that is Calinog combined with the earthquake belt 11 kilometers away, gives us a perfect mix for disaster.

Drilon boasts that the mega dam is “earthquake” proof. He should go back in history, to January 25, 1948 when Earthquake Lady Caycay jolted Panay Island with 8.2 magnitude, the West Panay Fault at its epicenter. Caycay damaged 55 Spanish-era churches, 17 of which others beyond repair.

Panay was still recovering from the ravages of WWII and communities could not report immediately on the earthquake. Our parish church in Igbaras, Iloilo survived the war but not Lady Caycay. The church had to be demolished to build a smaller one, about the size  that you see today.

Two persons drowned in Iloilo Strait from the tsunami following the quake. The biggest and most beautiful church in Panay, in Oton, Iloilo was so badly damaged it had to be demolished. Its tower partially collapsed leaving only two bells. A boy was found dead under its rubble (Manila Times, January 26, 1948).

In Iloilo City, 21 died and 43 were injured. The Jaro bell tower was destroyed while the Coronet Tower in Villa collapsed. Traffic was disrupted due to fissures in the road (Manila Times, January 26, 1948).

Lady Caycay was the second strongest earthquake in the 500 Philippine history, courtesy of the West Panay Fault, 11 kilometers from the mega dam of PNoy and Drilon.

(Thanks to “No to Jalaur Dam”  a FaceBook account, for making available the report from Manila Times, January 26, 1948.)

The famous belltower in Jaro district in Iloilo collapsed trapping four church workers. Fissures were observed in the streets that caused traffic disruption. For the rest of the city, 21 died and 43 were injured while total church damages was estimated at P 200,000 although total damages in the city reached P 1,000,000 (Manila Times, January 26, 1948). The Coronet tower in Arevalo District also collapsed (Manila Times, January 26, 1948). 

4 comments on “Quinta, Caycay and mega dam

  1. From 1948 up to now, technology have not move to justify the claim of Sen Drilon that this Dam will be stronger than those building built under the Spanish Regime? We complained about scarcity of potable water in Panay, what is your alternative, if Calinog is not the answer?

  2. The logic is flawed. It appears the reader echoes Drilon’s dream of the “best” answer to the water crisis in Iloilo and thus, asks any oppositor what “alternative” (or inferior solutions) are they going to offer.

    It’s time we reverse our thinking. Is there an alternative to mass suicide that Drilon and company are contemplating for Iloilo?

    The mega-dam is not his “gift” to Ilonggos. It will be Pinoy taxpayers who will shoulder the burden of repayment.

    Exposing to grave dangers other Ilonggos just to save a people concenctrated on 8,800 hectares that is Iloilo City, is unfair to the rest. Iloilo City has nothing to blame but itself for the water shourtage.

    80 percent of Iloilo City’s underground water sources are contaminated and unfit for human consumption. And it is continued to worsen it by destroying its wetlands and mangrove areas.

    Wetlands (marshlands) are natural water harvesters and coolers, where water percolates before sipping down to refill the aquifer. Plants and mangroves in these wetlands and along the shores and Iloilo River, are natural purifiers, ensuring that the water from the surfaces are safe to drink before they reach the aquifers.

    Wrong sense, reckless and ecologically destructive development is destroying Iloilo. Building a mega dam, a ticking time bomb, is not the answer.

    Let Iloilo City die a natural death instead of erecting the mega- dam whose sponsors salivate for mega-commissions.

  3. i was too passionate when i wrote the reaction above and posted it without editing. mea culpa for the embarrassing grammatical snafus

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