To help reduce severe floods in Cagayan Valley” drastically,” the Department of Environment and Natural Resources will remove sandbars along the constricted section of Cagayan River—the Magapit Narrows—by late January or early February, an official said Thursday.
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, Task Force Build Back Better co-chairman, said “this is a strategic move in the short-term while medium- and long-term solutions for the flooding in Cagayan Valley are still underway.”
Secretary Mark Villar of the Department of Public Works and Highways is the task force chairman.
The three sandbars are located in Magapit Narrows, which is described by the DPWH as the “constriction point” in the mid-stream portion of the 500-kilometer Cagayan River.
According to the DPWH, the three sandbars have a total estimated volume of seven million cubic meters covering 235 hectares of sandbars in Barangay Bangag in Lal-lo town covering 11.4 hectares with 334,305 cubic meters of sand; Casicallan Norte, Gattaran that covers 89 hectares with 2.7 million cubic meters of sand; and Dummun, Gattaran covering 174.70 hectares with 4.04 million cubic meters of sand.
Of the 19 priority sandbars, Cimatu said, the DPWH had recommended the immediate dredging of the three sandbars in the Magapit Narrows since these significantly hinder the flow of flood water to the Aparri Delta and finally to the Babuyan Channel.
He says the TFBBB is tapping the resources of other national agencies to speed up the removal of the three sandbars, which the DPWH estimates to be completed after a year.
The removal of the sandbars would be done in 250-meter segments or blocks, while the use of geotubes is proposed for the management of dredged materials.
“This is another showcase of whole-of-government approach,” Cimatu said, adding the strategy “will drastically reduce the flooding problem in Cagayan Valley.”