DPWH-8 Assistant Regional Director Edgar B. Tabacon.
DPWH-8 Assistant Regional Director Edgar B. Tabacon.

TACLOBAN CITY, (PNA) — Construction of the PHP7.9 billion tide embankment project in Leyte will proceed despite opposition and mounting concerns.

Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Assistant Regional Director Edgar B. Tabacon said the project is now on its detailed engineering design and will be bid out within the year.

He told PNA that the central government will allocate PHP2.6 billion next year to start the construction. This year, the DPWH regional office got PHP66 million for right of way acquisition in some sections.

“The project is on track and we are trying our best to address all concerns raised by different sectors,” Tabacon said

Last month, there were clamors to stall the project and divert funds for water system in relocation sites and livelihood projects for badly hit families.

But the DPWH official said the project is equally important to shield communities from threats of rising seas.

“Residents within the no build zone are beneficiaries of permanent housing, but permanent houses are not yet completed. Some families want to be transferred to their new homes before the construction begins,” Tabacon said

In the low lying San Jose district in this city, affected residents support the project, but they fear of eviction once the construction begins.

“If it is for the benefit of all, why not?” asked Rhatna Decena, 34. “But if the construction starts, hopefully the affected residents will be relocated to safer places.”

Not only houses will be affected, but also some business establishments and other structure that would disrupt livelihood activities.

“As far as safety is concerned, this project is okay, but what about our sources of income?” asked community store owner Maria Hazel Lago, 31.

The construction of 27.3-kilometer tide embankment project from Tacloban City to Tanauan, Leyte aims to protect coastal communities from destructive waves. (PNA)