DENR tapping Filipino contractors to dredge Cagayan, Marikina rivers
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is planning to tap Filipino private contractors to dredge Marikina and Cagayan rivers to prevent flooding just like what happened when Typhoon "Ulysses" struck parts of Luzon last month.
In a televised press briefing on Thursday, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said under the plan, the government would not pay anything to the contractors, who would get all the materials they could get from the rivers plus the payment of four percent tax to the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
"The governor will give the authority to dredge. The governor now will make an agreement with this contractor. Included in the (agreement) is they will dredge for free, then they get the sand to sell it but they have to pay excise tax to the government - they will pay four percent," he said.
He said the sand which could be removed from the rivers could be sold to anyone.
Asked if possible buyer of sand includes China, Cimatu said, "there will be an agreement that the sand won't go to the West Philippine Sea, Scarborough. It will be specified where (the sand) will go...there will be restriction in the contract."
There were earlier reports that China got black sand that it used in constructing articifial islands in the disputed South China Sea from Cagayan.
China has been claiming almost the entire South China Sea, including areas within the exclusive economic zones of the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries.
Cimatu said the government would undertake dredging in 19 priority sites along Cagayan river.
As to Marikina river, he said the DENR has given notice of violation to some lot owners for illegal reclamation.
Asked if BF Corporation, allegedly owned by Marikina Rep. Bayani Fernando, was one of the alleged violators, Cimatu said he has yet to check.
He said the properties that encroached the Marikina riverbanks would have to be demolished.
Thousands of families were displaced by the massive flooding in Marikina and Cagayan when ''Ulysses'' hit the country last November. Celerina Monte/DMS