The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has received full backing from President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to proceed with its plan to control flooding in Cagayan Valley and spare the region from devastating flood waters in the future.
Among DENR’s plan is removing the bottleneck in Magapit River in Cagayan that causes heavy flooding during typhoon season.
During a situation briefing with President Duterte in Tuguegarao City on Sunday, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said there was a Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) recommendation to widen a portion of the river to accommodate more flood water to pass through.
Implementing the proposal, however, would affect an existing bridge that’s why it was never carried out, according to Cimatu.
“So these are the dilemma that they were not able to implement, Mr. President. But I think we can do some engineering interventions po rito. I was talking to a geologist kanina, I told him to report to Manila para pag-usapan what will be the remedy of that,” he told the President.
Another DENR’s plan is to dredge Cagayan River, which is now affected with heavy siltation. Under this initiative, the government will dredge some 30 kilometers from the mouth of Cagayan River going upstream.
“And the other one is that dredging will be no cost on the part of the government. It will be really a request of the Governor to allow a contractor to clean or dredge the river,” Cimatu said.
“And at the same time, in — in exchange of that, he is allowed to sell sand. But they have to pay as what the mining company is paying, four percent excise tax as a revenue of the government,” he added.
The DENR is also looking at implementing massive tree planting program to prevent flooding in the region with the help of local government units (LGUs) and the private sector.
Cimatu said that under the government’s National Greening Program, reforestation focuses on upland areas. But with the recent calamities, there’s a need to concentrate in the lowland with the help of private land owners.
“So we are talking about why not — why will not involve the local government and other citizens to plant trees already here at the lowland?,” Cimatu said.
If the DENR, the LGUs and the private sector could come up with an agreement, Cimatu said they can immediately plant 200 million trees.
During the situation briefing, President Duterte said his government will intensify efforts to prevent the repeat of massive flooding in Region II by carrying out aggressive reforestation initiatives and by stopping illegal logging and mining.
“I expect our LGUs to do their part in this endeavor,” he said. PND