AGUS RIVER , ITS WISE UTILIZATION
By Rudy Arizala
Note: The main purpose of this short article is to call attention for the need of careful and wise utilization of said Agus River in the light of a reported plan to construct two huge dams on said river which pose great danger to lives and properties in the area.
I menioned other major rivers of the world, to show with the exception of the Nile River, other rivers such as the Rhine, Danube, etc., no huge dams were constructed. Also, they are examples of wise, careful and proper utilization of rivers. Even in a developing country like Cambodia and Vietnam they have the so-called "Mekong River Development Authority" which supervises the wise, proper and safe use of the river. Methinks the towns of Gen. Nakar and Infanta should organize or install an "Agus River Development Authority". This could be done by adopting a joint resolution and request the assistance of the United Nations on the matter. Rudy
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AGUS RIVER , ITS WISE UTILIZATION
By Rudy A. Arizala
27 September 2007
Most human settlements - villages, towns and cities, are located at the banks of rivers or near them. Why? Simply because since the early dawn of civilization, rivers have been sources of livelihood. They are sources of food, drinking water as well as for their sanitary needs, washing and fluvial means of transport. They are also use in irrigating dry lands for agriculture.
Thus, in the island of Luzon, Philippines, due to presence of rivers and waterways especially in its Southern part, many people settled and up to now are dwelling near rivers. Because they dwell at or near rivers, they were called "Taga-ilog" (River-dwellers) and consequently known as "Tagalog". That Southern part of Luzon is commonly referred to these days as the "Tagalog Region".
"River-settlers" or "dwellers" are not only found in the Philippines but also in other countries of the world. Most towns and cities are located at or bisected by rivers. So, if Manila has its Pasig river, London has Thames river, Paris, Seine; New York, East River & Hudson; Berlin, Havel; Moscow, Moskva; Budapest, Danube; Rome, Tiber; Vienna, Danube; Cairo, Nile; Baghdad, Tigris; Delhi, Yamuna; Jakarta, Liwung; Bnngkok, Chao Phraya; Seoul Han; Tokyo, Sumida; Shanghai, Han; Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon; Santiago, Mapocho; Buenos Aires, Rio de la Plata; Lima, Rimac; Asuncion, Parana; and Sao Paulo, Tiete.
In the Philippines, aside from Pasig river bisecting Metro Manila, we also have many towns and villages bisected or located near rivers. For example in Infanta, Quezon, we have the "Sapa - Bantilan - Sala" rivers while in nearby town of Gen. Nakar, Quezon, along its boundary line with Infanta, Quezon, we have the "Agus River."
The Agus River does not only provide means of livelihood, food, drinking water and fluvial means of transport to the people but also as means of irrigating the ricefields. Thus, Agus river has its myths and legends. For example, it is the common belief among the people living near Agus river that a form of tribute has to be paid annually to this great river in terms of human life - at least one person gets drown in said river. A tribute or fee has to be paid for the beneficial use the river gives the people and to appease it during rainy or typhoon months so as not to cause a deluge. So, during inclement weather people near the Agus river are cautious and remind themselves to be very careful because somebody among them might be the victim of drowning - a payment of tribute to the river ("pambayad ng buwis sa Agus.")
But such danger to life and property would, henceforth, not only arise from natural causes but also from "man-made ones, for according to reports, the Philippine national government has a grandmaster plan to construct two big dams - the "Laiban Dam" at "Agius river Kaliwa" (left tributary) and another big dam at "Agus river Kanan" (right tributary). The "Laiban dam" is designed to divert the water of Agus river (kaliwa) to supplement fresh water needs of Metro Manila, while the dam at Agus river (kanan) located between the towns of Gen. Nakar and Infanta,Quezon, is designed to generate hydro-electric power.
The construction of these two dams while it may have beneficial effects to the people, according to experts, pose also great possible danger to lives and properties in Infanta, Gen. Nakar and Real towns. The risk arise from the fact that both the Laiban Dam (at Agus Kaliwa) and Gen. Nakar dam (at Agus Kanan) would lie approximately 20 and 10 kilometers away respectively from the "Infanta fault lines" So, in case of earthquake, any breakage to any of the two dam structures would cause a deluge and submerge the whole town of Infanta, Quezon and surrounding areas under water.
The peaceful, safe ferry-boat ride and other beneficial uses being enjoyed at present by the people of Infanta and Gen. Nakar from the Agus river as shown in the pictures, would become a thing of the past or exist in pictures and in our memories only if the construction of the Laiban and Gen. Nakar dam projects at Agus Kaliwa and Kanan respectively, would push through. Because of the existence of the "Infanta fault line", as pointed out by experts, there would be a constant clear and present danger of a deluge hanging like a "Sword of Damocles" over the heads of the people in the Infanta-Gen. Nakar-Real towns of Quezon province.
There is an urgent need, therefore, for vigilance, conservation, careful and wise utilization of the Agus River as done in other major rivers of the world.
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