BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
A private firm may start dredging the heavily silted rivers in EB Magalona, Negros Occidental, as soon as it complies with the requirements needed, Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said yesterday.
Lacson, who presided over the inter-agency committee meeting at the Provincial Capitol in Bacolod City, said yesterday that the provincial government is not spending any amount for the dredging operations of First Terradev Corp. in EB Magalona.
Up for declogging and desiltation are the rivers of Malogo, Imbang, and Madalag.
The tapping of the private firm by the local government unit of EB Magalona in dredging its heavily-silted rivers was an offshoot of Joint Memorandum Circular no. 2019-01 of the DENR, DPWH, DILG, and DOTr, that rationalizes dredging activities in heavily-silted river channels.
“This is an offer from the national government…and passed on to an LGU, which tapped a private group to do the dredging,” Lacson said.
“Obviously, we cannot afford massive dredging,” he admitted.
Lacson said that it will be the provincial government of Negros Occidental that will issue a permit for the private firm to start dredging operations, in concurrence with the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
The private firm must also have a valid memorandum of agreement with DENR Western Visayas, he said.
During the inter-agency meeting also attended by Livino Duran, assistant regional director of DENR 6, Lacson said it was proposed that the Malogo River will be the first to be dredged.
EB Magalona was among the local government units in the 3rd district of Negros Occidental recently hit by flashfloods twice last month.
Mayor Marvin Malacon earlier said that the proposed dredging operations got the support of town officials and residents, as a result of the public hearing held late last year.
While the LGUs will not shell out any amount for the dredging operations, Lacson said that there is a commercial value to it also for the private group, but clarified that it is not black sand mining, contrary to claims.
He added that they were also told that the private group does not have any market yet for what they can extract from the dredging operations.
Lacson also requires the DPWH to present the master plan of the dredging operations in EB Magalona during their next meeting.*