The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has chosen Las Piñas city for its pilot test of Kochi Marutaka’s floating amphibious excavator.
Sen. Cynthia A. Villar noted that this technology to be used in cleaning the Las Piñas-Zapote River and waterways in Las Piñas is new. The technology, Villar said, can do extensive dredging while floating in shallow waters of the river due to its remarkable buoyancy.
“There is no doubt that you have chosen well. In Las Piñas, under my guidance, we are serious and very persistent in our river clean-up and rehabilitation,” Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, said.
The senator, along with her daughter, Deputy Speaker Camille Villar, joined JICA Rep. Takuya Hashizume, DPWH- NCR Director Loreta Malaluan and DPWH-Bureau of Equipment Dir. Toribio Noel Ilao and Las Piñas- Muntinlupa District Engr. Isabelo Baleros, in the launching of JICA’s Verification Survey for the “Utilization of Floating Amphibious Excavator for the Construction Works On Disaster Management and Disaster Restoration in the Philippines.”
The project brief was given by Toru Asakura of CTI Engineering International Co., Ltd. and Hiroshige Takano , chairman of Kochi Marutaka Corporation, while Mikako Shimizu from JICA Philippine office and Tomohiro Matsubara from the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines gave their keynote speeches during the launch.
“I welcome events like this that cultivate solutions to the challenges we face to tackle disasters and mitigate its effects. As you know, the Philippines is one of the most vulnerable countries to disasters, it is frequented by around 20 typhoons per year,” Villar said.
She also pointed out the use of a floating amphibious excavator is also very much in consonance with her lifelong advocacies of cleaning our city’s rivers and waterways and of efficient waste management.
Prior to the project, the Japanese group approached the Las Pinas city government, seeing the efforts of Sen. Villar in cleaning the Las Piñas- Zapote River which bagged an international environment award given by the United Nations.
The initiative to clean the said river and rid it of waterlilies that triggered floodings was under the so-called “Sagip Ilog Para Sa Kinabukasan.”
Villar related they started dredging the rivers with the use of backhoe put on top of barge, which was then the technology available to us.
To encourage many to remove the solid wastes found in our rivers, she established livelihood potentials out of the garbage.
“And so we developed handicrafts out of the waterlilies that proliferate our rivers, we also found use for the many discarded coconut husks that were thrown out to the rivers, and we also learned the practice of composting our kitchen and garden wastes,” she said.