DENR Secretary and concurrent Task Force Build Back Better (TF-BBB) Chairperson Roy A. Cimatu inaugurated Phase 2 of the Marikina River Restoration project in Barangay Santolan, Pasig City on Wednesday, 21 July 2021.

The launch was witnessed by Pasig City Mayor Victor Maria Regis “Vico” Sotto and Marikina City Mayor Marcelino “Marcy” Teodoro and their respective city councils. Sec. Cimatu, together with DPWH Undersecretary Maximo L. Carvajal and MMDA Chairperson Benjamin “Benhur” C. Abalos, Jr., officiated the launch following a short ceremony organized by DENR National Capital Region.

Phase 2 of the project aims to initially clear a total of 37,612 square meters of sediment and other obstructions along the Marikina River, particularly from Barangay Santolan to Barangay Ugong in Pasig City. Sediments loading and deposition are the results of the movement of organic and inorganic particles by water. Materials coming from upstream portions of a river or waterway are usually carried downriver by gravity and during strong downpours. While it is a natural process, human activities upstream—deforestation and land clearing, accelerating the process and causing siltation. Over time, sediments accumulate and restrict water flow downstream, often resulting in flooding

On the same day, Mayor Teodoro hailed the success of the project’s first phase, which covered parts of Barangay Barangka, Calumpang, and Industrial Valley Complex. In his message to Sec. Cimatu and the TF-BBB, that the average water flow rate of Marikina River rose from “2.2 liters per second to 3.1 liters per second.” This, he believes, is because of dredging activity. “Ibig sabihin, maganda at tama po na nilalaparan natin ang ilog at tinatanggal ang obstructions sa mga river easements protect property and lives”, Mayor Teodoro explained.

Mayor Sotto for his part, said that the Pasig City government is giving its “full support” to phase 2 of the Marikina River Restoration project. “Matagal na po nating inaabangan ang dredging sa area na ito”, Mayor Vico stated in his welcome message. “Ang kagandahan nito, nung mag-meeting tayo, nakita natin na walang matatamaang pamilya sa proyekto ng DENR at DPWH”, Mayor Sotto disclosed.

MMDA Chair Abalos likewise expressed his support for the project, as he sees the importance of dredging the Marikina River in reducing flooding in Metro Manila. He explained that the region produces on average “60,000 cubic meters of garbage a day”. "Part of our garbage ends up in the Marikina-Pasig River among other waterways, clogging the river, Chair Abalos said.

“Ang problema natin, sa dami ng debris, sa dami ng basura…na nanggagaling sa itaas, yung dating malalim, nagkakaroon ngayon ng siltation. At hindi lamang ito, dahil yung ibang mga kanal, estero, dito [sa Marikina-Pasig River] pumapasok. Alam n’yo ba kung ilang kanal, river, at estero natin dito sa Metro Manila? 273. Gaano kahaba ito? Sa natural ay 700 kilometers; sa man-made ay 1,000 kilometers. Ang problema, kung dito pa lang ay barado na, mabibilaukan tayo”, Chair Abalos pointed out. “Kaya ang gagawin ng MMDA, tutulong kami dito…with the guidance of Sec. Cimatu”, he adds.

Sec. Cimatu thanked Mayors Teodoro and Sotto, DPWH Usec. Carvajal, and Chair Abalos for their support. He said the project will benefit the people living in flood-prone areas as it would increase the capacity of the river to absorb excess rainwater. “When phase 2 of this project is completed, I am confident that we can look forward to waterways restored to their original width and legal easements recovered resulting to safer and resilient communities against the adverse effect of climate change”, Sec. Cimatu said.