Marcos mulls dredging of Agusan River

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. urged concerned government agencies to formulate a comprehensive plan for river management in the country as he acknowledged that siltation is a common flood trigger in many areas.

In a situation briefing in Agusan del Sur on Friday, Marcos expressed his concern over the expense associated with dredging but recognized it as a vital step in addressing the recurring issue of flooding in the region.

This is after Agusan del Sur Governor Santiago Cane Jr. asked for assistance to address the devastating flood affecting the province.

The governor highlighted the insufficiency of resources and the prolonged nature of the crisis, emphasizing the need for dredging the Agusan River to mitigate flooding.

“Mr. President, while we’re doing everything we can to help our affected constituents, our resources are simply not enough,” Cane said. “Even if the rain stops today, the water will remain until March, especially in areas along the Agusan River.”

He emphasized the need for long-term solutions, proposing the dredging of the river from its mouth in Butuan City to Agusan del Sur.

“Siltation has formed an island at the mouth of the river, significantly hindering the water flow,” Cane explained, adding that the local government lacks the necessary funds for such a large-scale dredging.

Marcos acknowledged the urgency of the situation and the complexity of the solution.

“Well, then, I suppose we’ll just have to wait until we can put together the plan for the river — we’ll dredge it again. The siltation is really the issue. It is the same problem everywhere,” the president said.

Last year, Marcos ordered a full study of the plan to build water impounding systems in Bulacan and Pampanga to help with flooding in those two areas.

This is in addition to the short-term fixes that are already being made, like dredging and desilting rivers and swamps in the areas.

“In the long term, we really have to study what we are going to do in terms of impounding. We need to study it carefully because if we don’t do anything, it will just keep happening… even if we dredge,” Marcos said.

“So, that, I think, is the situation as we find it in the very short term, in the medium term, in the long term,” he added.