THE city government of Marikina, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) on Wednesday started the pilot-dredging activities in the initially identified illegally reclaimed portions of Marikina River to avoid flooding in low-lying areas in the city.
“As what we have been emphasizing, this is not simply a dredging activity on the part of the DPWH, but this is a Marikina River restoration activity, which will not be done only today or in the next 65 days but will be a sustainable activity,“ said Mayor Marcelino “Marcy” Teodoro, as he expressed confidence the dredging activities will help them attain a long-term and effective solution to the perennial problem of flooding in the city.
Teodoro, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benhur Abalos Jr., and a representative from the Department of Public Works and Highways oversaw the dredging in one of the identified areas in Barangay Olandes.
Based on existing land records, the DENR found out that 25 lot parcels with a total area of 27 hectares (271, 625 square meters) were reclaimed without necessary permits, either partially or completely encroaching into the Marikina River.
These portions of the river have been illegally reclaimed, reducing drastically the ability of the waterway to contain excess rainwater during typhoons, DENR noted, adding that the structures have been found violating Presidential Decree 1067 or the Philippine Water Code.
“We have discussed yesterday in the office of secretary that the local government is also acquiring some heavy equipment, dredgers, that can be used to continue the dredging activity,” Teodoro said.
Teodoro reiterated that there is a need to dredge because of the natural siltation that happened to the Marikina River, saying, “being a downstream river, of course, what is happening upstream will also affect downstream.” Citing DPWH data, the mayor said they want to achieve at least 4 meters per second of water velocity for Marikina River.
“Dredging will be done to widen the river, to deepen it, to get the correct ratio of the widening and the deepening of the river in order to improve the water carrying capacity of the Marikina River, and thus improving its water current velocity,” he said.
Likewise, Teodoro said they are also embarking on a joint undertaking in planting bamboos, which is a suitable slope protection for the embankment of the river.
With this, he said that the city will build a 1-hectare bamboo nursery in order for the city not to purchase bamboos anymore, and have a steady supply of bamboos they could plant near the river to prevent soil erosion.
“It is not something that we need to buy that will cost the government so much money, but something that we could cultivate together in a nursery and in the proper time we could plant together,” he said.
Through the Task Force “Build Back Better,” he said, they are not only dredging but also restoring the Marikina River to its natural topography.
“Being a downstream river, a catch basin, a valley, it is natural that Marikina will be flooded, but the idea really is to mitigate through this activity by widening and deepening the water channel,” said the mayor.
Image credits: Marikina City Government