Dredging of the shallow Calmay River is now in full swing after the three dredging machines deployed by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) resumed their operations after more than four months of inactivity.
Dagupan City Mayor Belen Fernandez expressed confidence that dredging will continue for a longer period now without interruption after these machines received their fuel allocation amounting to P3 million from the central office of the DPWH.
“I understand why there was a little delay in the arrival of their fuel allocation as this still underwent a bidding process which took for sometime. It is not only DPWH, but also including us, which experiences such a bidding process which was done to ensure that the process is really above board, clean and really devoid of graft and corruption, ” she said.
Operation of these dredging machines grounded to a halt sometime in July up to November after the one-month fuel allocation for these machines made available by the city government was already exhausted.
Under a memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed by Fernandez with the DPWH flood control director, the city government will take care of one month fuel for these dredging machines while the DPWH will shoulder the rest till the work is completed.
These dredging machines, one of which is brand new, began their operations in June this year and only stopped when their fuel allocation from the city government already run out.
Silt being recovered from the dredging work is being deposited on a vacant lot in Barangay Pantal where the city government intends to buy as location of the new Dagupan City government center to be built to replace the existing one located in Dagupan’s downtown area.
Calmay River connects to the Lingayen Gulf to where all run-off water from the upland is flowing. An island of silt, equivalent to the size of a baseball field, already developed in the middle of the river.
Fernandez, with the help of Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, requested for these dredging machines, noting that among the main reasons why floods are recurring there is that its river systems are already heavily silted and need immediate dredging.
At the same time the mayor announced that DPWH, with the help of Congresswoman Gina de Venecia, agreed to pour in more funds for its uncompleted Gabion-type of seawall projects in Barangays Pantal and Pogo Chico in a bid to minimize flooding in Dagupan.