DENR eyes end of dredging operation along Cagayan River by next year

Published November 2, 2021, 3:56 PM

by Joseph Pedrajas

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is mulling the completion of the dredging of a “mega island” along the Cagayan River by early next year.

According to DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu, about 8.43 percent of the target 970,962 cubic meters of a sandbar in Barangay Dummum in the municipality of Gattaran has already been dredged since the operation started in June.

“With its sheer size measuring 134.7 hectares, it is practically an island, which is why this sandbar is a priority of the task force,” Cimatu said.

Cimatu also said that the dredged materials are being transferred to the eroded portion of Cagayan riverbanks in Barangay Dummun to restore its ideal alignment as well as speed up the water flow toward the river mouth in Aparri, Cagayan.

He said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have already expressed commitment to deploy additional equipment and workforce to complement the dredging operations.

Despite the dredging activities, Cagayan River did not overflow during the onslaught of severe tropical storm “Maring” in October, according to DENR-Region 2 Executive Director Gwendolyn Bambalan.

Bambalan said only localized floods were reported, which were a result of the overflowing of lakes and rivers that drain into the Cagayan River

Phase 1 of Cagayan River dredging activities, which focused on the constricted section of the river, called the “Magapit Narrows,” started in February and completed on October 4.

A total of 364,143 cubic meters of materials have been dredged, which occupied some 11 hectares along the riverbank and restored Magapit Narrows’ riverbank depth by three meters.