Posted on November 15, 2023
The Ilocos Norte government will enter into a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for the dredging of the Bislak River, covering the towns of Vintar and Bacarra in the first district, to avoid future wide-scale flooding in low-lying areas.
Provincial board member Rafael Chua Medina said in an interview on Monday that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Ilocos Norte has granted authority to Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc to enter into a deal with the DENR under Resolution No. 2023-11-219.
“As we are getting ready for the next rainy season, we really need to dredge the Bislak River the soonest possible time,” Medina said, citing the Bislak River as one of the heavily silted river channels in the province based on the masterplan of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
Medina said the dredging and river restoration will be conducted without spending taxpayers’ money, made possible by partnering with private contractors to cover all expenses to be identified by a provincial inter-agency committee created under DENR Admin Order (DAO) No. 2020-07.
“This will be a win-win situation for the government, for the community not to have floods anymore, and for the contractors because they can use the extracted sand for whatever they want to,” Medina said.
Earlier, the DENR issued an administrative order rationalizing dredging activities in heavily silted river channels across the country in a bid to restore their natural state and flow and reduce flooding.
Under the DAO, only duly registered companies with technical and financial capabilities to undertake large-scale flood control dredging and desilting operations may apply for a dredging clearance with the DPWH.
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.
By removing the accumulated debris, dredging can restore the waterway to its original depth and condition, thus preventing floods. It also removes dead vegetation, pollutants, and trash that have gathered in these areas.
Aside from the Bislak River, dredging operations started on Monday along the Tina-Cura Rivers in Sitio Boing, Barangay Maananteng and in Lipay, Solsona town.
Yvette Leynes, provincial administrator of Ilocos Norte, said the desilting and clearing of the Tina River in partnership with 13 permit holders will cover a length of 800 meters, a width of 50 meters, and a depth of four meters. (PNA)