Battle for Manila Bay heightens

February 21, 2020
Roy Cimatu

The Battle for Manila Bay  is further heightened with the start of the dredging operations of the 36.4-km Tullahan-Tinajeros river system.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu said that all systems go for the dredging project of said river system, which will start on Feb. 24, Monday.

Cimatu stressed that the Tullahan-Tinajeros dredging operation is an important part of the Manila Bay rehabilitation program,

The river system, which starts from La Mesa Dam in Quezon City and drains into the Manila Bay at Centennial Park in Navotas City, is one of the dirtiest waterways emptying into the historic bay which has been undergoing rehabilitation since January last year.

The dredging project is covered by the memorandum of agreement entered into by the DENR with food and beverage giant San Miguel Corp. (SMC) last year.

The agreement formalized SMC’s participation in the Adopt-an-Estero program, a priority initiative of the DENR and a key strategy to address the continuing mandamus of the Supreme Court to clean up Manila Bay.

Cimatu said that dredging will be done within the 5.25-km part of the river system, covering the stretch located in Barangay Catmon in Malabon City to Barangay Bagumbayan South in Navotas City.

He added that dredging is necessary to remove the sediments that are affecting the water quality of the river.

“Dredging strips away the accumulated debris, which could help reduce the risk of flooding and improve its water quality,” Cimatu pointed out.

The SMC had earlier pledged P1 billion for the dredging and cleanup of the river system, including the purchase of backhoes, cranes with claw, dump trucks, barges and fuel.

The official launch of the dredging operations will take place in the morning of Feb. 24 at the Navotas Centennial Park and this would include the ceremonial handover of the dredging map between the DENR and SMC.

Aside from DENR and SMC representatives, officials from the local governments of Navotas and Malabon cities, the province of Bulacan, Department of Public Works and Highways, and Department of the Interior and Local Government, and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority are expected to attend the event.