Posted June 8, 2020
MANILA, Philippines — Local government units (LGUs) may now undertake dredging and river restoration projects with the private sector without spending taxpayers’ money.
In a recently issued memorandum, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) ordered private contractors to shoulder the expenses of dredging operations in river dredging zones (RDZ) in exchange for the minerals that they would recover from the areas.
“No funding from the government will be given for dredging activities conducted by the private sector,” the order, signed by Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, read.
The memorandum seeks to rationalize dredging activities in heavily silted river channels across the country.
It also seeks to restore the rivers’ natural state and flow to reduce flooding, especially during the rainy season.
The memorandum provides that only registered companies with technical and financial capabilities to undertake large-scale flood control dredging and desilting operations may apply for a clearance with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
“Holders of dredging clearance should provide the financing, technology, management and personnel necessary to implement dredging activities within the exclusive RDZ,” the order stated.
The RDZ should be identified by a provincial inter-agency committee, which would be created under the same department administrative order.
The committee will be composed of the provincial governor as chairman, the DENR regional executive director as vice-chairman, and the regional directors of the DPWH, Mines and Geosciences Bureau and Environmental Management Bureau as members.
“The private contractor will have to shoulder all the expenses of the dredging operation in exchange for whatever minerals it may recover, provided it pays the required national and local taxes,” the DENR said.
Before tapping the private contractors, LGUs interested in undertaking river restoration projects should submit a letter of intent to the DENR.