Bicol River rehab to ease flooding

By Keren Anne V. Bernadas


The rehabilitation of Bicol River, the country’s eight largest waterway straddling three provinces in Bicol, will start Mar. 23 in Camaligan, Camarines Sur to prevent severe flooding in the region’s mainland provinces of Albay, Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte during rainy season and every time a strong typhoon hits Bicol.


The dredging of the 94-kilometer river will take place as a result of the collaboration of the Department of Public Works and Highways in Bicol (DPWH-5) with other government agencies to serve as flood mitigation measures in communities affected by typhoons and heavy rains.


The Build Back Better Task Force (BBB Task Force), created through Executive Order 120 signed by President Duterte last Nov. 18, will coordinate and speed up the river rehabilitation.


Lawyer Ronnel Sopsop, assistant regional director for technical services of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Bicol, said that around 58,000 cubic meters of silt and other materials will be dredged from the river.


In order to prevent further siltation in the river, bamboo trees will be planted so that river tributaries will not erode. Sopsop added that about 400 bamboo culms are to be planted tomorrow to kick off the department’s thrust to plant 50,000 bamboos in the region.


Check dams will also be established to minimize soil erosion.


On its part, thew Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will provide food packs for every two-day of bamboo planting among local residents.


The Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development 5 (DHSUD5) has determined to build settlement areas of 290 residences in Camaligan and about 2,204 in Bato, Catanduanes.


Bicol River Basin stretches out to three provinces in the region: Albay, Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte.


BBB Task Force is a whole-government post-disaster program, which aims to strengthen rehabilitation and recovery efforts in typhoon-hit areas. (PIA5)