Renewed hope for Butuanon River
Residents and visitors of Mandaue, known as the industrial hub of Cebu, can now look forward to a new site to promenade along the banks of the city’s primary inland body of water with the groundbreaking of the Butuanon River Rehabilitation Pilot Area.
The project is among the series of initiatives that the collective Mandaue City community aims to achieve to rehabilitate the river in which studies showed an “alarming rate of degradation caused by a complex mixture of pollutants from various sources.”
“The objective is to develop a foot path, a walkway, and a mini-forest,” Vice Mayor Carlo Pontico Fortuna said in describing the plans for an ecologically-friendly development of a kilometer-long stretch of both banks of the Butuanon River flowing through barangays Alang-alang, Ibabao-Estancia, and Paknaan.
A time capsule bearing the design of the strip was buried at the site of the future viewing deck of the pilot area along United Nations Avenue near the Butuanon bridge and across Pacific Mall during a ceremony on Friday, October 5, 2018.
Leading the groundbreaking ceremonies were Mandaue City Mayor Gabriel Luis Quisumbing, Vice Mayor Fortuna, Vicsal Foundation, Inc. Corporate Secretary Margaret Gaisano-Ang, Matimco, Inc. Chief Executive Officer Charlie Liu, and Trustees of the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Fortuna said that rehabilitation of the Butuanon River is a concerted effort of the community.
“This is the first time that the government, business, and other sectors of the community are pooling resources to rehabilitate Butuanon River,” he said.
Mayor Quisumbing underscored the extreme importance of the project as “civilizations since time immemorial have flourished along the waterways since access to water is what helps propagate life.”
He noted that Butuanon River, depicted by accounts as once lush, clean, and full of marine life, is now laden with trash and sedimentation, “causing a lot of urban problems including flooding and health quality issues for those who live along its banks.”
“Ultimately there is no greater legacy that we can leave future generations of Mandauehanons and Cebuanos than a healthy and vibrant Butuanon River — not just in terms of water quality and the infrastructure that will be built — but the quality of life and sense of community that it will bring,” Quisumbing said.
Initiatives to rehabilitate the river led to the formation of the Butuanon River Watershed Management Board (BRWMB) in the late ‘90s and was revived early this decade.
Composed of the local governments of Mandaue City and Cebu City, the national agencies concerned with the environment and science and technology, the academe, the water district, and the business sector, the Board crafted a watershed framework plan, defined the roles of stakeholders and strengthened watershed governance, based on studies, research, and surveys.
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