Cimatu wants added P4.65B for rehab of Bicol, Cagayan rivers
MANILA, Philippines — Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu has requested the Department of Budget and Management for an additional P4.65 billion for the rehabilitation of the Bicol and Cagayan rivers.
In a statement released on Thursday, Cimatu, chair of the Task Force Build Back Better, is seeking to complete the rehabilitation of the Bicol River from 2025 to 2023 and the rehabilitation of the Cagayan River from 2028 to 2025.
To hasten the rehabilitation of the two rivers, P1.45 billion of the requested fund would be allocated for the Bicol River Basin and P3.2 billion will be used for the Cagayan River Basin.
The fund would be used to procure new equipment for dredging operations, Cimatu said.
“If we invest now, the best option is to already have these pieces of equipment this year,” Cimatu said.
The Environment secretary also recognized the efforts of the Department of Public Works and Highways, saying the agency can accomplish the project swiftly and is more cost-effective compared to hiring private contractors.
“This is really a big policy shift and I hope the next administration will continue this. They cannot afford not to continue this. You can just imagine if we bid these out to contractors, baka wala pa sa kalahati nagagawa natin ngayon (our project may not be halfway done),” he mentioned.
Cimatu who is also the head of the Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation and Disaster Risk Reduction, noted that rehabilitation is equally important to the COVID-19 pandemic response.
“Priority should likewise be given to equally important efforts on climate change and disaster mitigation programs meant to assure the country of its food security and prevent, or at least minimize loss of precious infrastructures due to flooding,” the chief said.
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