Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has ordered the immediate, impactful and doable solutions to rehabilitate the Cagayan River.
This was announced by Assistant Secretary Joselin Marcus Fragada of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in a meeting with members of the regional task groups held on Dec. 3 in Tuguegarao City.
"The main concern of Secretary Cimatu is for us to undertake immediate activities that are effective to help Region 2 particularly the rehabilitation of the Cagayan River to prevent the occurence of similar flooding," ASec. Fragada said.
ASec. Fragada is with Gen. Benito Antonio De Leon who are both commanders of the Build Back Better Task Force in Cagayan Valley. The task force is co-chaired by the DENR and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
In the meeting, the DENR and the DPWH agreed to undertake immediate interventions such as dredging of sandbars to start from the Magapit Narrow, easement recovery, and stabilization of riverbanks through bamboo plantation. ASec. Fragada will recommend these measures to Secretary Cimatu.
The assistant secretary has asked DENR Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn Bambalan to conduct initial steps such as survey of residential, farmlands and buildup areas which will be affected by the easement recovery. He requested the agriculture department to assist in finding alternative livelihood for the residents whose farmlands will be affected by the easement recovery.
The task force commander also urged the support of the local chief executives in Alcala, Gattaran and Lallo towns in the relocation of the hard hit communities living in the hazard-prone areas adding that the department will assist the local government units (LGUs) in the identification of relocation sites that are safe and livable. "The LGUs should be primarily responsible in terms of the relocation of their constituents," he said.
During the meeting, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Trade and Industry committed to support the DENR in implementing vegetative measures to stabilize riverbanks.
The task groups organized by the Regional Development Council was recommended by the assistant secretary to be created as the regional counterpart of the Build Back Better Task Force.
In a related development, ASec. Fragada and Gen. De Leon met Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba to discuss the interventions to be undertaken. The governor chairs the Interagency Committee on the Restoration of the Cagayan River.
Gov. Mamba has expressed full support to the Cagayan River rehabilitation project.#