DENR eyes restoring original width of Marikina River to reduce flood risk

Marje Pelayo   •   November 24, 2020   •   699

MANILA, Philippines — Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said Marikina River must be widened to reduce flood risk.

During a recent visit to Marikina City, Cimatu recommended the widening of Marikina River to increase its flood carrying capacity.

The recommendation comes after Marikina City and nearby areas were submerged in flood waters during the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses.

The environment chief noticed that the river channel was narrow, prompting him to call for strict imposition of easement requirements pertaining to rivers.

Presidential Decree 1067, also known as the Philippine Water Code, requires riverbank easement of three meters in urban areas.

As part of the planned rehabilitation, Cimatu said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will evaluate the changes in the width of Marikina River based on the data from the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NMRIA).

“We will look into the old river and how the river became narrower through the years,” Cimatu said. 

“We will restore the original width of the Marikina River,” he added.

At the same time, Cimatu said the DENR will look into the complaint of the Marikina City government over the alleged reclamation project along the river, which has not secured an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) from the environment department.

“Definitely, there should be no reclamation. I will really implement the easement law,” he said.

Cimatu said he has directed the DENR-National Capital Region office to look into the non-issuance of ECC, the reclamation, and the retaining wall built along the riverbanks.

Manila Bay rehab project, target tapusin sa ikatlong bahagi ng taon — DENR

Robie de Guzman   •   April 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Muling naglalagay ng crushed dolomite sa dalampasigan ng Manila Bay ang Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) bilang bahagi ng isinasagawa nitong nourishment o rehabilitation project sa lugar.

Ayon sa DENR, bahagi ito ng P28 milyon sa P389 milyong kabuuang halaga ng proyekto na layong pagandahin at pangalagaan ang lugar upang maiwasan ang coastal flooding at erosion.

Ayon kay DENR Undersecretary Jonas Leones, ang pondong ginamit sa proyektong ito ay bahagi pa rin ng 2019 national budget.

Ang kontrata nito ay naaprubahan bago pa man nagsimula ang coronavirus pandemic at nabinbin lang ang pagpapatupad dahil sa kinakaharap na krisis.

Sinabi ni Leones na target nilang matapos ang Manila Bay nourishment project sa ikatlong bahagi ng 2021.

Sinisilip ng mga kritiko ang timing ng proyekto lalo’t nahaharap pa sa pandemiya ang Pilipinas at marami ang nangangailangan ng ayuda.

Ngunit giit ng DENR, hindi maaaring basta na lamang suspindihin ang isang government project sa ilalim ng contractual obligation.

Ayon naman kay Attorney George Erwin Garcia, ang College of Law Dean ng Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, maaaring i-justify ng gobyerno ang pagpapahinto sa isang proyekto lalo na at nasa ilalim ng krisis sa kalusugan ang bansa.

“Because we are in a national emergency, pandemiya ito, madaling i-justify at pwedeng ma-justify yung pagpapatigil ng isang proyekto at para yan ay maging tinatawag na savings,” ang pahayag ni Garcia.

“Lahat ng kontrata, nakadepende sa mga pangyayari especially kung may tinatawag na supervening events na hindi naman na-predict ng mga partido sa kontrata,” dagdag pa niya.

Tumanggi namang magbigay ng pahayag ang Malakanyang kaugnay ng pagpapatuloy ng proyekto. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

DENR discovers four culverts draining untreated water directly into Manila Bay

Marje Pelayo   •   January 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — A culvert or drainage pipe was discovered hidden behind boulders at station 640 along Manila Bay’s baywalk area on Roxas Boulevard was found to be discharging untreated wastewater directly into the bay.

Based on water analysis, fecal coliform count in the area was significantly high at 50 million most probable number per 100 milliliters.

After further inspection, three more alleged culverts along the baywalk were discovered. 

Pipes were found beside the Remedios drainage outfall across Aristocrat restaurant, Station 240 beside the Padre Faura outfall, and near the Estero San Antonio de Abad outfall.

“Ang lakas ng tubig. Bumubulwak (Water pressure was really strong),” said Environment Undersecretary Jonas Leones.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu has ordered the immediate plugging of the illegal outfalls, the establishment of engineering interventions, and the strict enforcement of environmental laws in the bay.

“Noong tine-trace na namin yung existing pipes ng DPWH, ng MMDA at saka ng local government units, itong na-discover namin na illegal pipe wala doon sa records nila,” Leones noted.

(When we were tracing the origin of the existing pipes of the DPWH, the MMDA, and the local government units, none of these illegal pipes were in their records.)

“So the Secretary (Cimatu) has decided na i-seal na namin yung mga illegal pipes and mga culverts. And then let’s see kung saan lalabas yung mga tubig na yan na suppose to be doon lumalabas sa illegal pipes na na-identify na namin,” he added.

(So the Secretary has decided to seal those illegal pipes and culverts and then let’s see where the water would go out aside from the illegal pipes that we have identified.)

Leones said that before they traced the illegal pipes, the coliform level in Manila Bay has already improved from billions of micrograms per normal cubic meters to only thousands.

It just needs to be improved to 100mpn for it to be safe for swimming. -MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Wildlife conservation must continue amid pandemic —DENR

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has reiterated the need to continue wildlife conservation even amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

This was after a nesting sea turtle was sighted in Zambales province. DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu also reported several sightings of nesting sea turtles were in other areas.

“Even if we are faced with a difficult situation brought about by the threats of the disease, we must continue to strive to protect and preserve our endangered pawikan,” he said.

He added that the sightings prove that the efforts of conserving wildlife was not in vain.

The DENR’s Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) in Olongapo City also received a report that sea turtles laying eggs were spotted at a beach resort in San Antonio town.

The DENR said they will monitor the situation of these nests to protect them from poachers and illegal wildlife traders.  AAC

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