CAGAYAN RIVER RESTORATION. The Interagency Committee (IAC) on the Restoration of the Cagayan River created by virtue of DENR Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2020-07 deliberates in a meeting today at the DENR Regional Office in Tuguegarao City.
 
On Feb. 27, Secretary Roy A. Cimatu issued DAO 2020-07 (Rationalizing Dredging Activities in Heavily-Silted River Channels Pursuant to the DENR-DPWH-DILG-DOTR Joint Memorandum Circular No.1 Series of 2019) to protect and properly manage the disposition of sand as well as restore the natural state and water flow of the heavily silted river channels within the country.
The order states that to open up heavily-silted river channels, areas starting from the coastline of river deltas extending all the way upstream, in accordance with the DPWH Dredging Master Plan, shall be designated as exclusive River Dredging Zones by the IAC.
 
“Local government units (LGUs) that are interested in undertaking river restoration through dredging activities in specified heavily-silted river channels within their jurisdiction must submit a letter of intent addressed to the Office of the Secretary,” the DAO reads.
 
Cagayan Gov. Manuel N. Mamba, IAC chairperson, emphasized that there should be a unified decision to proceed with the Cagayan River restoration project. “All of us should be amenable because if somebody disagrees, we will not continue the project,” Gov. Mamba said.
 
In her message, IAC vice chair and DENR Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn C. Bambalan assured the agency’s support to the intent of the LGU to restore the Cagayan River. “We are one with you in this endeavor. We just have to ensure, however, that applicable environmental laws, rules and issuances are complied with before we proceed with the project,” she explained.
 
Director Bambalan presented the DENR’s inputs in the draft memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the agency and the applicant-operator for the project. “As signatory of the MOA, I just want to make sure that the process and all requirements are complied with prior to my signing,” the regional environment chief said.
 
As a result of the meeting, the technical working group will conduct a workshop to iron out the process, timelines and requirements in the implementation of the project.
 
The interagency committee serves as oversight for the implementation of the DAO and monitoring of dredging operations. It shall recommend the suspension and/or cancellation of permits and/or clearances; and propose policies and programs to rationalize the dredging operations. The regional directors of the DPWH, EMB and MGB are members of the IAC.#