Proposal to desilt major rivers revived

LAWMAKERS were asked to reconsider the proposal by the City Environment and Natural Resources Office to approve the proposed desiltation of the city’s major rivers, which was nixed earlier this month.

The city council is yet to discuss a P100 million investment plan for disaster-mitigating strategies submitted by the City Disaster Risk Response and Management Council (CDRRMC). The agency withdrawn its proposal for alternative programs in lieu of the desiltation project.

“The barangays asked for the desiltation of several rivers,” Cenro head Elisa Madrazo said.

These include the riverbanks, as well as uphill rivers such as the ones in barangay Mandug and Alambre. In Mandug, there have been reports of unregulated quarrying in the area.

In some parts of the city’s bodies of water, siltation has also caused the forming of small islets that can be seen from the air. “There is siltation in Mandug,” Madrazo said. “This is not a quarry area.”

Madrazo said Barangay Alambre in Toril suffered a casualty when one died from flash flood in the past.

The proposed P100 million desiltation program includes the purchase of new equipment dedicated for the clearing of silted rivers in the city. While the city already has equipment capable of the operation, some of these are used in engineering work and the city’s sanitary landfill.

In an earlier interview, city council finance chair Danilo Dayanghirang said disaster management chief Emmanuel Jaldon, Jr. had asked for more time to itemize the alternative plans first before submitting the proposal for approval by the city council.

“We will endorse the same plan,” Madrazo said, insisting on desilting the rivers.

The city council earlier questioned the plan as it cited the magnitude of the cost.

However, the Commission on Audit also raised its brow on the spending habits of the city, saying that the local government in 2016 spent less than 20% on disaster resilience measures despite 5% of the local budget earmarked for the purpose.

Desilting the rivers would allow the rivers to carry more water instead of these spilling over to nearby communities.

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