DENR to begin dredging of Bicol River on March 23


THE DEPARTMENT of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said that it will begin dredging on Tuesday a section of the 94-kilometer Bicol River to restore the river’s natural flow rate and minimize flood risk.

In a statement over the weekend, DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu was quoted as saying that the initiative is the last of the Task Force Build Back Better’s targets for dredging the other two are the Cagayan and Marikina rivers.

Citing the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the DENR said that some 58,235 cubic meters of deposited sand will be removed from the middle portion of Bicol River in Camaligan, Camarines Sur.

DPWH-Bicol Region Assistant Director Gerald A. Pacanan said that the dredging can be completed in 52 days if bigger machinery is tapped, alongside the two excavators deployed to the project. With the current equipment, dredging will take 281 days, he said.

Mr. Pacanan added that the dredging will “require a depth of five meter” to restore the river’s natural flow rate.

The Bicol River is the eighth-largest drainage basin in the country, according to the environment department.

Mr. Cimatu said that the task force has started various supporting activities in the Bicol region, such as easement recovery and the planting of bamboo along the river bank.

“In fact, 49,509 bamboo seedlings have been planted by some 850 beneficiaries of the Department of Social Welfare and Development,” he said.

The bamboo seedlings were planted on 173 hectares of land in 33 barangays in Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte and Albay. — Angelica Y. Yang