By Jose Santino Bunachita
CEBU CITY (September 1, 2022) — The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) are meeting with City officials to “harmonize” their respective plans on the restoration of waterways in the city.
At the same time, the national government agencies and city officials will meet with former Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu tomorrow to brief him on the current status of their efforts.
Atty. Gerardo Carillo, chairman of the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CCDRMC), said this is the first time they will meet with Cimatu following his appointment as the city’s “DENR-like secretary”.
“We will meet with Secretary Cimatu and mo-present ang DPWH and DENR on their plans and projects related to the restoration of waterways. The goal is to harmonize their plans,” he said.
Cimatu and tmembers of the Gubat sa Baha Task Force will also conduct a walkthrough in the different major rivers and waterways of the city.
Carillo said DENR is focused on restoring the city’s rivers to its original width, based on cadastral maps and plans from ten years ago.
The DPWH, on the other hand, is working on river restoration projects based on a master plan study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
We will meet with Secretary Cimatu and mo-present ang DPWH and DENR on their plans and projects related to the restoration of waterways. The goal is to harmonize their plans.Atty. Gerardo Carillo, CCDRRMC chief
The city has coordinated with DPWH and DENR in the surveys and issuance of notices to vacate (NOVs) for owners of informal structures within the three-meter easement of rivers and other waterways.
“We have started giving out the notices. We will continue sending these notices especially in the areas we have identified as our priorities,” Carillo said.
These areas include the Kinalumsan River and Tagunol in the south district, and the Butuanon River and Estero de Parian in the north district.
CCDCC made these four waterways as priority areas since DPWH and DENR have already identified the width of these rivers and waterways.
After finalizing the width of each river, the CCDRRMC will then demarcate the three-meter area from the end of each side of the river. Structures located within this easement area are then issued with NOVs from the City Legal Office.
The City will then identify the legitimate owners of these structures for them to receive financial assistance from DPWH.
We have started giving out the notices. We will continue sending these notices especially in the areas we have identified as our prioritiesAtty. Gerardo Carillo, CCDRRMC chief
The DPWH is also doing sheet piling to reinforce the embankment of these rivers to prevent erosion.
The three-meter easement requirement in rivers is based on Presidential Decree No. 1067 (Water Code of the Philippines) and DENR Administrative Order No. 2021-07 (Guidelines on the Establishment of Legal Easements Along the Seas, Rivers, Lakes, Esteros, and Creeks).
It is also covered under Article 638 of Republic Act No. 386 (Civil Code of the Philippines) and Section 1, Paragraph E of City Ordinance No. 1764, which created the City River Eco-Park Management Commission tasked to develop, manage, and rehabilitate the rivers and creek of the city. #