By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The Sicaba River will finally get an uplift after a collaboration to rehabilitate its physical and environmental state was reached between the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region 6 (DENR-6) and Victorias Milling Company, Inc. (VMC).
Sicaba River is a tributary that crosses through the local government units of Manapla town and Cadiz City.
A memorandum of agreement signed by DENR-6’s Environmental Management Bureau regional director, Atty. Ramar Niel Pascua, VMC President Minnie Chua and VMC Chief Finance Officer Kristine Cabuguason states that within the first month, immediate surface clean-up and installation of approved engineering solutions will be implemented at the pilot site.
“Environment protection has been part of our thrust and we welcome this collaboration with DENR and the Municipality of Manapla and Cadiz City,” Chua said.
Pascua, on the other hand, said that this program “emphasizes the significant role of both the public and private sectors and the community in achieving a cleaner, safer and healthier environment.”
Manapla Mayor Manuel Escalante, meanwhile, welcomed the initiative as environment protection is high-up on his governance agenda as well.
“This is one program which I hope the residents will embrace and our business partners will fully support,” Escalante said.
A comprehensive program to reduce pollution at the Sicaba River and its minor tributaries will be implemented at a specific segment, identified as the pilot site that has been agreed upon by all parties. There is an open agreement as well to possibly extend the site or replicate programs in other portions of the river in the future.
Some of the river rehabilitation measures identified in the program include the regular clean up of the river, phyto-remediation programs thru constructed wetlands, planting of bamboo and other species along river banks, rip-rapping or coco-matting and construction and greening of linear parks.
DENR will take charge of monitoring industrial and commercial establishments that run along the Sicaba River, assist in establishing Materials Recovery Facilities in concerned barangays, strictly implement and act against violators of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and Clean Water Act, and assist in community social preparation and other trainings for leaders and stakeholder groups in the area.
VMC on the other hand will take charge of undertaking regular water quality monitoring of the river and its tributaries, assist DENR in trainings and program implementations and help in community mobilization to support the project./DGB, WDJ