A task force has been created to attain long-term and effective solutions to the perennial problem of flooding in Marikina City.
The Task Force Build Back Better, composed of the city government of Marikina, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), 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 as illegally-reclaimed portions of Marikina River.
Through the Task Force, Marikina Mayor Marcy Teodoro said the goal is to restore the natural topography of the Marikina River.
“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,” Teodoro said.
Teodoro said they will also further strengthen the city’s disaster response.
“At higit sa lahat naniniwala ang Marikina na ang pagtutulungan ay mahalaga (And most of all, Marikina believes that cooperation is important), a whole-of-government approach and a whole of society approach is imperative,” he said.
Based on existing land records, the DENR found out that 25 lot parcels with a total area of 27 hectares were reclaimed without necessary permits, either partially or completely encroaching into the Marikina River.
The portions of the river, the DENR noted, have been illegally reclaimed, reducing drastically the ability of the waterway to hold excess rainwater during typhoons.
It added that the illegal structures have been found violating Presidential Decree 1067 or the Philippine Water Code.
Teodoro joined DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu, MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos Jr., and a representative from the Department of Public Works and Highway in overseeing the dredging in one of the identified areas in Barangay Olandes.
“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 only be done today or in the next 65 days but will be a sustainable activity,“ Teodoro said.
He said they are also embarking on a joint undertaking in planting bamboos which is suitable slope protection for the embankment of the river.
With this, Teodoro said the city will build a one-hectare bamboo nursery to ensure 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.
Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday said that it will commit its 51st Engineering Brigade, Naval Combat Engineering Brigade (Seabees) and the 355th Engineering Wing as engineering and technical support in the dredging and widening projects.
Earlier, the Task Force Build Back Better (TFBBB) started pilot dredging activities in illegally reclaimed portions of the Marikina River
“We commit our full support and will make all available assets and personnel to the initiatives of the Task Force Build Back Better,” AFP chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said in a statement.
Also, the AFP through the 5th Infantry Division also provided security and engineering support to the TFBBB-led rehabilitation of the Cagayan River.
“Together, we can work to mitigate the damage caused by typhoons and help keep our people safe as we brace for stronger weather disturbances due to climate change,” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order No. 120 that created the task force for the post-disaster recovery and rehabilitation of typhoon-hit areas.
It is co-chaired by the Secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways with 22 heads of national government agencies, including the Department of National Defense, as original members.
“The Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine Coast Guard, and other uniformed personnel are hereby directed to provide logistical and technical assistance in the rehabilitation and rehabilitation efforts,” the order said. (PNA)