DENR National Capital Region led the planting of bamboo along river embankment in Marikina City, through its Production Forest Management Section (PFMS), East Field Office (EFO), and Estero Rangers. The team planted 555 bamboo culms in Barangay Malanday, Marikina City on Wednesday, 16 June 2021.

The activity is part of the DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu’s commitment as Chairperson of the Build Back Better (BBB) Task Force created in November of last year to ensure post-disaster rehabilitation and recovery efforts of typhoon-hit areas.

Marikina City is one of the heavily affected areas by typhoon Ulysses late last year. Hours of torrential rains quickly submerged large parts of the shoe capital and other low-lying parts of Metro Manila in floodwaters.

Experts have noted that the Marikina River was heavily silted and narrow at certain points, reducing its capacity to absorb and pump out excess rainwater to Manila Bay. This led to calls for the rehabilitation of the Marikina River Basin.

In response to such calls, President Rodrigo R. Duterte issued Executive Order No. 120, s-2020, establishing the BBB Task Force, a high-level institutional platform and body tasked with coordinating and expediting post-disaster efforts.

The Task Force is composed of the chairperson of National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and secretary of Defense; secretaries of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development, National Economic and Development Authority, Transportation, Interior, and Local Government, Energy, Trade and Industry, Agriculture, Budget and Management, Finance, Education, Health, Social Welfare and Development, Labor and Employment, and Science and Technology; and general manager of the NHA. Administrators of the National Irrigation Administration; Land Registration Authority; Local Water Utilities Administration; National Electrification Administration; Philippine Coconut Authority; and chair of the Cooperative Development Authority are also among the members.

Marikina River is one of the three priority river basins subject to rehabilitation under the BBB Task Force. In February of this year, DENR, together with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the City Government of Marikina launched the Marikina River Restoration program. The program aims to restore the Marikina River to its original width and depth and revive riparian ecosystems to reduce flooding in the area and increase urban biodiversity.