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2020.02.24 Sec. Cimatu takes on river restoration Marcopper issues in Marinduque visit

DENR Sec. Cimatu is joined by Agency and local government officials during his visit at PENRO Marinduque.

 

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Sec. Roy Cimatu joined agency officials as he took on issues concerning river restoration and Marcopper Mining Corporation (MMC) during his visit in Marinduque, February 19.

In his speech, he emphasized the need to restore the two major river systems in the province, Boac and Mogpog, where millions of tons of mine waste were dumped during the Marcopper mine disaster in 1996.

Currently implemented in the province of Oriental Mindoro, he cited the Agency’s River Restoration Project through dredging activities in heavily-silted river channels as per Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1 Series of 2019 with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and the Department of Transportation.

Sec. Cimatu said that upon request of the provincial government of Marinduque, the DENR will then issue an order authorizing the governor to restore the rivers and supervise the clean-up and dredging activities there.

As for the Marcopper issue, Sec. Cimatu raised his concern over the probable collapse of MMC’s Maguila-guila Siltation Dam which may cause possible flash floods that will adversely affect the downstream communities along Mogpog River.

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) MIMAROPA Region has proposed the construction of a gabion dam in Brgy. Bocboc, Mogpog, Marinduque, as a stop-gap measure to eliminate, if not reduce, the danger posed by the continuous siltation of Mogpog River which contributes to the flooding in the surrounding communities.

Citing this urgent concern, Sec. Cimatu committed to provide funds for the said project which he expects to commence as soon as possible or before the rainy season.

According to MGB MIMAROPA Regional Director Roland de Jesus, the research and design phase (technical data gathering, design, and planning) will be implemented by his office, while the construction aspect will be endorsed to the DPWH for implementation.

The MGB MIMAROPA Region regularly conducts monitoring and assessment in the existing mine structures and facilities of the MMC mine site, including the river systems in Boac and Mogpog.  

In relation to the river restoration project, the MGB MIMAROPA Region takes part in the technical working group that will identify possible river dredging zones, and conduct study to predetermine possible economic mineral content on river deposits.

Later this month, the MGB MIMAROPA team, joined by DENR and Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Offices and Provincial Engineering Office, conducted study and evaluation of nine priority rivers in Oriental Mindoro: Mag-asawang Tubig River, Bucayao River, Alag River, Baco River, Balete River, Bongabong River, Wasig River, Mansalay River, and Cagankan River covering municipalities of Naujan, Calapan, Baco, Gloria, Bongabong, and Mansalay.