In the recently concluded Regional Development Council (RDC) meeting on July 22, the Bureau of Equipment (BOE) of the Department of Public Works and Highways presented the highlights of the dredging plan for the Cagayan River.

The Plan entitled, “Master Dredging Plan of Cagayan River Dredging Project, Lal-lo, Cagayan to Gamu, Isabela, Region II”, details the series of dredging activities along the Cagayan River. The Plan also provides the estimated volume of sand to be dredged, the equipment needed, and the cost of dredging activities. A total of 36 sandbars were identified for dredging to speed up flow of floodwaters. Overall, the BOE expects to dredge about 68.9 million cubic meters of sediments from the river by 2026.

Director Toribio Noel L. Ilao of the BOE disclosed that procurement of additional equipment is needed to complete the dredging by the third quarter of 2026. In comparison, only four out of the nine dredging sites will be completed by 2026 if the needed additional equipment are not procured.

To hasten the dredging, NEDA Regional Director Dionisio C. Ledres, Jr. suggested to explore options where provincial governments either partner with private firms who will do the dredging, or do the dredging operations themselves. These will be carried out under the supervision of DPWH and following the specifications of the plan. Director Ilao also assured that the agency is coordinating with host LGUs to identify waste areas for the dredged materials.

The dredging of the Cagayan River is one of the strategies approved by the RDC in December 2020 to address perennial flooding in the region. These strategies, grouped into structural and vegetative measures, were presented by NEDA Region 2 to the RDC in its report entitled, “Cagayan Valley   Flood   Mitigation   and   Rehabilitation  Program” following the major flood in November that same year.