SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – Consistent to the directive of the Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy A. Cimatu in the rehabilitation of rivers and strict implementation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, DENR Ilocos Region headed by Regional Executive Director Atty. Crizaldy M. Barcelo have been consistently compliant in ensuring that rivers in the region are not indiscriminately turned into open dumpsites and that these waterways are continuously flowing.
Following the successful partnerships to bring the Naguilian Rivers System to improve water quality, it’s aesthetics and water flow, another collaborative effort was initiated by Atty. Barcelo through the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement between the DENR 1 and HE SHA PRIME SAND AND GRAVEL AGGREGATES PHILIPPINES INC. which aims to restore the natural state and water flow of the heavily-silted Padsan River and to reduce risks to the lives and properties of the residents of the Province of Ilocos Norte through a large-scale dredging and desilting operations based on a comprehensive dredging plan. This body of water is the largest river in this province which is also called the ‘Laoag River or the Sarrat River’ with a total length of 73.1 kms.
The MOA signing is also anchored on the Joint Memorandum Circular in 2019 among the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Department of Transportation (DOTr) which was reinforced by the DENR Administrative Order No. 2020-07 entitled, “Rationalizing Dredging Activities in Heavily-Silted River Channels Pursuant to the DENR-DPWH-DILG-DOTr Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1 Series of 2019” signed by Sec. Cimatu on February 27, 2020.
The MOA signing was attended by DENR 1 Assistant Regional Director (ARD) for Technical Services Felix C. Taguba, Ilocos Norte Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) Vic Dabalos, the Vice-President of He Sha Prime Sand and Gravel Aggregates Philippines Inc. Mr. Ignacio Richie C. Balicanta IV and the contractor’s Project Manager Atty. Abigail Sestoso.
As per agreement, the contractor would be allowed to sell the dredged minerals, from which the government would also earn revenues. Under DENR Administrative Order No. 2020-07, contractors will shoulder all expenses in exchange for whatever minerals they may recover, provided they pay the required national and local taxes and necessary permits and clearances they are required to secure. It will also ensure the protection of the riverbanks from erosion and provide necessary engineering intervention to support the vital infrastructure along the river.
The DENR 1 on the other hand, together with the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) will take charge in the monitoring of its compliance to various environmental permits and clearances as stipulated in the agreement.
Currently, dredging activities initiated by the DENR in major rivers in the country are in full swing and these rivers include the Cagayan River in Region 2, Pasig River and Marikina River in the National Capital Region (NCR). (RAS-RSCIG)