When Secretary Raul L. Lambino took over as Administrator and CEO of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority middle of last year, he made an ocular survey of the heavily-silted Cagayan River, once called Rio Grande by Spanish colonizers for its magnificence.
“I promised to myself right there, we will restore the mighty river to its old glory and usefulness,” said Lambino.
Now, 18 months later, the Ceza chief is taking the extraordinary first step to fulfill this vow.
Two new units of XCMG XD600 cutter suction dredgers are in Port Irene awaiting the first performance trial to be conducted by the Department of Public Works and Highways.. Lambino said the DPWH has permission from CEZA to test the performance and durability of the new machines before acceptance by the public works department.
Jinyi Import and Export Trading Co., Ltd., a CEZA-registered locator, supplied the suction dredgers, which have just finished assembly in Santa Ana town, home of the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport.
One dredger unit will be deployed at the river’s mouth, one of its most heavily silted portions, causing the mighty waterway to overflow its banks and inundate nearby communities whose economies are agriculture-based.
“It’s an annual cycle of destruction,” Lambino said. “Our hope is to alleviate the suffering of our rural communities along the river banks.”
Dredging, Lambino said, could be the solution to the problem of perennial floods and bank erosion in the area.
Lambino said the Cagayan provincial government recommended the dredging of the silted parts of the country’s longest river, a move supported by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte.
Photo credit to: Manila Bulletin