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More rains endanger Expo, lahar megadike

SAN FERNANDO CITY, Pampanga — Two costly structures — the P3.4-billion Expo Pilipino at the Clark special economic zone and the P1.4-billion anti-lahar megadike at the Pasig-Potrero River — are now in danger from continuing monsoon rains that have heavily flooded this province and other parts of Central Luzon.

Mabalacat Mayor Marino Morales said the Expo Pilipino is in danger of collapsing into the Sacobia River as floodwaters continue to erode the banks of the river.

Morales said the main structure of the 60-hectare theme park, which former President Joseph Estrada shut down in 1998, is now only about 200 meters from the western bank of the Sacobia River which is being eroded by strong current.

The structure includes the teflon-roofed amphitheater which can seat some 35,000 people.

Meanwhile, engineer Marnie Castro of the Save San Fernando Movement said a 100-meter portion of the inner eastern section of the U-shaped megadike in Barangay Calzadang Bayu in Porac town was seriously damaged by strong current.

The width of the dike, which measures some 30 meters at the base, has been reduced by half, he said.

He said at least 50 volunteers from threatened areas offered their help to fortify the megadike’s damaged section which otherwise could lead to the collapse of the eastern flank. The megadike was designed to protect some eight Pampanga towns from lahar flows.

"But there is no danger from lahar. There is no more lahar flowing through the river, but we are afraid of the water that could escape from the damaged portion," Castro said.

Meanwhile, three persons were killed in a landslide in Barangay New Kalaklan in Olongapo City Saturday night as two more drowning victims were reported, bringing the death toll in Central Luzon to 14.

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