Philippines: Infrastructure Development Committee Supports Cagayan River Dredging

“The dredging of the Cagayan river is a very laudable project since it will benefit not only the province of Cagayan but the whole region,” stated Infrastructure Development Committee (IDC) Chair and Nueva Vizcaya Governor Luisa Lloren Cuaresma during the recently concluded meeting of the Regional Development Council-IDC.

According to Cuaresma dredging is an excavation activity which removes sediments from shallow fresh waters to deepen the harbors and waterways.

In the meeting, Cagayan Governor Alvaro T. Antonio said due to the flooding problem and siltation of the Cagayan River, the region is losing and missing opportunities.

Through the proposed project, the flooding problem of Cagayan and Isabela would ease up while economic gains for the region are simultaneously acquired,” Antonio was quoted as saying.

He further stated that six private companies are already expressing their interest to finance the said project stressing that these companies assured that all requirements based on pertinent operating laws will be followed. “The project must be fully presented to the public as we would want transparency in this undertaking,” he said.

According to Cagayan Provincial Planning and Development Officer Eliza A. Carodan, the proposed dredging will cover 65 kilometers wherein the expected output is 14, 976, 000 cubic meters annually.

The dredging project which will have five (5) phases such as the mouth of Cagayan, Camalaniugan, Lallo, Gattaran and Alcala, would seek finances through the Local Government Unit’s Internal Revenue Allotment, the Public-Private Partnership Scheme, the Priority Development Assistance Fund and the Official Development Assistance.

On the other hand, private sector representative Constancio R. Silva stressed that the dredging would create economic opportunities to the region as it will enable ‘ships’ to enter the river which in turn results to cheaper transportation cost among foreign investors because the road system is more expensive.

Silva shared that Korean investors are willing to invest in the country if such transport system is available in the region. Our products will become more competitive in the market.

The dredging activity is said to be advantageous for navigation (address problem of casualty during natural calamity, support domestic and foreign trade thereby increasing economic growth); environment (water quality improvement and restoration of river bottom); anti-eutrophication (prevention of nitrates and phosphates from contaminating the fresh water which will negatively affect the ecosystem); construction and industrial use; beach nourishment; mineral extraction; and wild life habitat development. On the other hand, some of the disadvantages laid out were the needed financial requirement for the proposal; time commitment; noise and other pollution; disposal of dredged materials and low public acceptance.

National Economic and Development Authority Regional Director Milagros A. Rimando stressed the need for an intensified information, education and communication campaigns saying that that the knowledge and understanding of the people on the project is essential.


Source: pia, August 16, 2011