Sicaba river up for rehabilitation

The Sicaba river in Negros Occidental will be up for rehabilitation and coastal clean-up. (Contributed Photo)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino


BACOLOD City – The Sicaba river in Purok Tunay and Purok Maligaya, which crosses through Manapla and Cadiz City in Negros Occidental, is up for rehabilitation and clean-up.

This development came following the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) by Atty. Ramar Niel Pascua, regional director of the Environmental Management Bureau Region of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-6; and Victorias Milling Company, Inc. (VMC) president Minnie Chua, and Kristine Cabuguason, chief finance officer for VMC.

The MOA stated that within the first month, immediate surface clean-up and installation of approved engineering solutions will be implemented at the Pilot Site.

A comprehensive program to reduce pollution at the Sicaba River and its minor tributaries will be implemented at a specific segment, identified as the pilot site that has been agreed upon by all parties. There is an open agreement as well to possibly extend the site or replicate programs in other portions of the river in the future.

Some of the river rehabilitation measures identified in the program included the regular cleanup of the river, phyto-remediation programs through constructed wetlands, planting of bamboo and other species along river banks, rip-rapping or coco-matting and construction and greening of linear parks.

Pascua said that this program emphasizes the significant role of both the public and private sectors and the community in achieving a cleaner, safer and healthier environment.

DENR will take charge of monitoring industrial and commercial establishments that run along the Sicaba River, assist in establishing Materials Recovery Facilities in concerned barangays, strictly implement and act against violators of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and Clean Water Act, and assist in community social preparation and other trainings for leaders and stakeholder groups in the area.

For her part, Chua said this will form part of VMC’s sustainability program. “Environment protection has been part of our thrust and we welcome this collaboration with DENR and the municipality of Manapla and Cadiz City,” she added.

VMC will take charge of undertaking regular water quality monitoring of the river and its tributaries, assist DENR in trainings and program implementations and help in community mobilization to support the project.

“Manapla and Cadiz are part of our constituency and this program will help foster better relations among our stakeholders,” Chua said. She added that they’ve solicited the help of environmental experts that will focus on the rehabilitation part and have appointed key personnel to directly be in-charge of immediately implementing the program.

Meanwhile, Manapla Mayor Manuel Escalante welcomed the initiative as environment protection is high-up on his governance agenda as well. “This is one program which I hope the residents will embrace and our business partners will fully support,” the mayor said.