Cagayan River dredging starts Feb. 2

Published January 28, 2021, 3:25 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

The dredging of the Cagayan River which is a multi-layered environmental endeavor will begin on Feb. 2, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) bared.


The effort involves the removal of sandbars to clear the constricted section of Cagayan River known as the Magapit Narrows, as well as the massive planting of bamboo along its bank.

“This is the culmination of weeks of meticulous planning and detailed coordination to ensure that each of the dredging equipment is safely transported to the sandbar sites and that bamboos are grown at critical portions of the riverbank needing immediate measures to address stream bank erosion and instability,” DENR Secretary and Task Force Build Back Better (TFBBB) Chairman Roy Cimatu said in a statement Thursday.

Next month’s launch will see the planting of 925 bamboo propagules on a nearly a kilometer length of the riverbank in Barangay Bangag in Lal-Lo.

Cimatu stressed that the sandbar clearing and growing of bamboos “are inseperable twins,” and that the TFBBB has adopted as a strategy to protect nearby agricultural lands and crops from damage during typhoons.

On top of the six amphibious dredgers of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), a total of 40 dredging equipment are expected to be deployed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). These include dump trucks, bulldozers, tractors, and scoop loaders.

The launch will formally open the first phase of the dredging operations, which entails the removal of three priority sandbars along the Magapit Narrows portion of Cagayan River. This covers a total of 235 hectares with a volume of seven million cubic meters.

A total of 19 sandbars have been identified by the DPWH but immediate dredging was recommended for the three sandbars, which significantly hinder the flow of flood water to the Aparri Delta draining to the Babuyan Channel.

The three sandbars have a total estimated volume of seven million cubic meters covering 235 hectares. These are located in Barangay Bangag in Lal-Lo; Casicallan Norte, Gattaran; and Dummun, Gattaran.

Some 100 local residents who are beneficiaries of the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers program of the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) will be hired to carry out the bamboo planting operation.

The dredging operation will include 48 laborers and operators trained by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

“This is whole-of-government at its best, with the support from almost all national agencies and the Cagayan provincial government,” noted Cimatu.