Listed diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) has given itself a tap on the back for its ongoing P1-billion river dredging and cleanup initiative, which the company claims to have reduced the flooding in Malabon and other areas in Metro Manila amid the recent heavy rains.
In a statement, SMC said communities along the Tullahan River are now reaping the benefits of the government and private sector’s flood mitigation efforts after monsoon rains flooded parts of Luzon and some areas in Metro Manila.
The company was particularly referring to the construction of a river wall led by the government as well as the continuous operation of pumping stations. Then there's also the company's P1-billion river dredging and cleanup initiative.
Because of these things, SMC said floods that affected Navotas, Malabon, and Valenzuela City following several days of heavy rains subsided quickly.
“With the heavy rains brought by Typhoon Fabian and the southwest monsoon the past few days, we closely monitored the flooding situation at critical sections of the Tullahan River. Despite the heavy rains even during the high tide period, there was no river overflow and the flash floods at nearby areas quickly subsided in a few hours,” SMC President Ramon S. Ang said.
Ang said that based on the feedback of the local government units (LGUs) of Valenzuela, Malabon, and Navotas, the combination of the river wall, pumping stations, and dredging, have helped lessen the risk of flooding in their areas.
"We were also told that flooding was mostly situated at low-lying areas due to the heavy rains. We’re glad many of our countrymen here remained safe. We will continue to evaluate the flooding patterns and, if needed, adjust our cleanup activities accordingly, in coordination with the LGUs,” Ang said.
In anticipation of the rainy season, SMC's dredging teams accelerated and intensified clean-up efforts at sections it is currently working on along the 27-kilometer river system, the main tributary to Manila Bay. Currently, the teams are undertaking widening operations at the river’s section between Marulas, Valenzuela, and Potrero, Malabon.
Meanwhile, the dredging of sections in Barangay Bangkulasi and Tanong in Navotas City has been completed, while the cleanup team is also currently operating in Barangay Longos in Malabon City.
As of July 22, SMC had extracted 332,192 metric tons of silt and solid waste from the river. All wastes extracted are moved to government-approved disposal centers.
“There’s still a lot that needs to be done to ensure that severe flooding is significantly reduced in these areas," Ang said.
"And with the help of the national and local government, the communities, and other stakeholders, I’m sure that within five years from the start of the project, or by 2025, we will complete the cleaning, widening, and deepening the Tullahan river, and address widespread flooding in communities and cities areas where it flows,” he added.
SMC’s P1 billion Tullahan-Tinajeros River System Cleanup project is part of the company’s wider set of sustainability goals, which include cutting its Group-wide utility water use by 50 percent by 2025, and planting more than 7 million trees nationwide through its power business and other businesses units.
The company will also undertake a river channel improvement program for tributaries belonging to Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando River System (MMORS) in Bulacan, the future site of the New Manila International Airport (NMIA).