VMC, DENR sign pact to rehabilitate Sicaba River

The Sicaba River will finally get an uplift after a collaboration to rehabilitate its physical and environmental state was reached between Victorias Milling Company Inc. (VMC) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region 6.

Sicaba River is a tributary that crosses through the local government units of Manapla and Cadiz City.

A Memorandum of Agreement signed by Ramar Niel Pascua, regional director of the Environmental Management Bureau Region 6 for DENR, and president Minnie Chua and chief finance officer Kristine Cabuguason for VMC states that within the first month, immediate surface clean-up and installation of approved engineering solutions will be implemented at the pilot site.

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 said.

Pascua 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.”

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

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, a press release from VMC said.

Some of the river rehabilitation measures identified in the program include the regular clean up 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, it added.

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 training for leaders and stakeholder groups in the area, the press release said.

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

“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.*

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