Coastal Pilar town in Capiz badly needs storm surge, flood mitigation projects

Coastal Pilar town in Capiz badly needs storm surge, flood mitigation projects

The featured image shows how the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) constructed and ensured the protection of residential areas in the coastal towns of Nabas and New Washington in Aklan by providing seawall structures against water overflow and potential storm surges. And this, Pilar town Mayor Arnold Perez said, he hopes to provide the same to his constituents for their safety as soon as possible.

By Ismael Amigo

PILAR, Capiz — Unknown to many, this coastal town also took a huge beating from typhoon Yolanda which claimed many lives and is still perennially exposed to major typhoons that hit the Philippines shores yearly.

Pilar mayor Arnold Perez (left) and one of the four barangays (right photo) he wishes constructed with seawall to protect constituents from future storm surges during typhoons and heavy rains.

Yolanda claimed 62 fatalities, 133 injured and one missing even as it also destroyed 96,055 houses and damaged 41,768 others in the province on that fateful day of November 2013.

Pilar is politically subdivided into 24 barangays but four (4) of these villages are constantly exposed to storm surge risks whenever super typhoons visit the Eastern Visayas region Pilar town mayor Arnold Perez said.

The November 2013 typhoon (Yolanda) was the worst for Capiz as it claimed 62 fatalities, 133 injured and one missing aside from inflicting over a half-billion-peso damages to crops, fish pen livelihood, and other properties.

Woeful scenario residents have to endure during Typhoon Megi (Agaton) last April 2022. (TRT World courtesy)

The province and the town of Pilar also had their own share of damages last April this year courtesy of typhoon Agaton which destroyed hundreds of houses aside from irreparable damages to mental health.

And almost always taking the hardest beating in his town Mayor Arnold Perez said were residents living in the four (4) coastal barangays namely: (1) Natividad, (2) Poblacion, (3) Rosario, and (4) Binaobawan.

Mayor Arnold Perez added they are constantly exposed to storm surges and flooding whenever super typhoons occur like what happened last April 11, 2022, courtesy of Agaton where at least 90% of total residents in the province got affected with some of them forced to stay on the roofs of their houses for at least 24 hours or until the floods subsided.

The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council in Western Visayas reported six fatalities two days after (April 13) and these include five (5) in Iloilo, (3) in Sara town, and one (1) each in Ajuy town and Lemery town, respectively.

It was good to note, however, that Mother Nature’s wrath claimed only one fatality too from Pilar in that particular typhoon mayor Arnold Perez said.

Throughout the province, however, the number of individuals who got affected by Agaton surged to as high as 145,713 including 67,184 who evacuated from their houses even as 38,598 persons stayed in evacuation centers.

Flood mitigation project seawall, breakwater

Of the four barangays, mayor Arnold Perez explained, Natividad is the most populated with 4,644 residents as of 2020 followed by Poblacion with 1,872; Rosario, 1,296; and Binaobawan, 1,176.

And counting.

The total of which is 8,988 and at the rate of at least 10 percent population growth per year, the four (4) aforecited barangays of Pilar may already have a population of around 11,000 or 10,785.6 total to be exact.

Residents are equally convinced with their local chief executive that a flood mitigation project in the form of seawalls or breakwaters seems apt, interconnected through the four coastal barangays similar to what the government put up in some areas in the Visayas and Mindanao like the one in Nasipit town in Lanao del Sur.

That project accordingly cost the government around P200 million but the residents of Barangay Punta in the frontier town of Nasipit are now highly protected against big waves, storm surges, soil erosion, and flooding.

Also, the completed seawall now protects the coastal residents from overflow and big sea waves during heavy rains brought about by bad weather conditions that oftentimes swept away light material houses located along the coast during heavy rains.

Nasipit’s reconstructed seawall was made with sheet pile and wave deflector with a 3-meter width road concreting.

It also has solar street lights installed 50 meters apart, as such the new seawall now offers a venue for recreation and fitness activities for locals and visitors while enjoying a picturesque view of sunrise and sunset in the afternoon.

And with that, at this point in time, residents of the picturesque town of Pilar can only dream but under President Bongbong Marcos’ administration, Mayor Arnold Perez said he is highly optimistic that their pleas to have a similar typhoon mitigation project in their midst could become a reality soon.

“No promises but this project might become a reality soonest under PBBM’s administration, especially since we have a big number of residents living in those barangays,” Mayor Arnold Perez, a scion of a family of true-blue Marcos supporters, said.

“The combined population of the four barangays could already be over 11,000 residents now,” the local chief executive added. “And they cannot be relocated anywhere because the sea is their source of livelihood.”

Pilar is a 3rd class municipality with a population of 47,100. It is 51 kilometers (32 mi) away from Roxas City, the province’s capital.

Capiz is known as The Seafood Capital of the Philippines, and it will never be complete without the town of Pilar as it is one big component of that moniker. (El Ogima/MTVN)

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