The Negros Oriental provincial government yesterday inaugurated the P53-million river flood control project in Barangay Tapon Norte, San Jose town, that aims to prevent devastations like that wrought by tropical storm Sendong in 2011.

Gov. Roel Degamo and San Jose Mayor Carmelo Remollo led local and barangay officials at the inauguration and blessing officiated by town parish priest, Msgr. Marino Ybo, at the re-channeled river bed in Tapon Norte.

The project was the first to be completed by the provincial government, with funds from the national government, for relief and rehabilitation work in Negros Oriental, after Sendong.

The national government had initially allocated P961 million for development projects for Negros Oriental but, so far, Capitol has received only half of the amount, or P480 million, after a controversy surfaced on the technicalities in the funding allocation.

The project that was completed in seven months, includes a dike, spanning 472 meters, and gabions measuring 300 meters, Degamo said.

The dredging and re-channeling of the river involved about two kilometers, he added.

He said he is confident that, with the completion of the project, people living at the river banks and nearby areas will be protected from floods.

Remollo said the river course passes through the four densely populated barangays of Basak, Cancawas, Tapon Norte and Poblacion in San Jose, and he hopes that more civil engineering works to stabilize the river will be undertaken in the future.*JFP