P20M dredging of Mahiga river: Where will silt go?

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita September 09,2014 - 09:09 AM

Mahiga creek (CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

A P20 million dredging project for the mouth of the Mahiga River in Cebu City is expected to help ease flooding during the rainy season.

However, the project, which is funded by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has hit a snag and hasn’t started.

Where will the large volume of mud and silt go?

The agency has applied for an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) but is still waiting for approval.

Joey Daluz III said he learned that the agencies are still reviewing the disposal of the mud and silt to be removed from the mouth of the Mahiga River, where flood waters exit during a heavy downpour.

Fernando Cruz, DPWH Cebu City District Engineer, said the project was supposed to start in the second quarter of this year.

“It’s still suspended until now because the DENR hasn’t approved the contractor’s application for an ECC on the dumping of the excavated materials from the mouth of the river,” Cruz told Cebu Daily News.

The P20 million dredging project was awarded last April to WTG Construction which applied for an ECC in May.

“That’s our only problem with that project. Once the ECC will be approved, the contractor said they can start immediately,” Cruz said.

The project will run for 90 calendar days.

Cebu City and the rest of Metro Cebu has been experiencing street floods from downpours in the past weeks.

Dredging the river mouth is an important part of restoring the full capacity of the Mahiga River, said Daluz, who heads the Cebu City River Management Council (CCRMC) and the REDZ or Reduce, Eliminate Danger Zones Project.

“I’m not an engineer but I’ve been told that if you are to desilt or dredge, you should start at the mouth and go upstream. So I was happy to know there was a project by DPWH but it hasn’t started yet,” Daluz told CDN.

Project REDZ is focusing on Mahiga River, one of the five major rivers in Cebu.

The CCRMC has identified 10 business establishments as encroaching on the three-meter public easement of the river, aside from residential buildings.

The list was given to the City Legal Office for notices of violation to be sent.

An initial target list of ten business establishments: M. Lhuillier in Escario Street., Ayala Center Cebu, Gaisano Main, Dimsum Break and Colonnade Mall in Colon Street, Visayan Electric Company substations in Banilad and near SM, Lot 8 condominium in F. Cabahug Street, barangay Kasambagan, Metro Cebu Community Hospital and PLDT on Osmeña Blvd. and Prince Court Motel in Mabolo.

Daluz earlier said that these business entities are the first priority because they have the resources to remove their own structures.

The legal office has not yet sent out notices of violation.

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TAGS: Department of Public Works and Highways, Environmental Compliance Certificate, Mahiga River
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