DENR Secretary and Concurrent Task Force Build Back Better (TF-BBB) Chairperson Roy A. Cimatu presented and handed over to Marikina City Mayor Marcelino “Marcy” Teodoro the completed Phase 1 of the Marikina River Restoration project on Wednesday, 21 July 2021 at Olandes mini-park in Barangay Industrial Valley Complex, Marikina City.

The presentation and hand-over event of the project were done amidst torrential rains brought by typhoon Fabian. Representatives from both the national and local governments and partners from the private sector came to witness the event.

Mayor Teodoro along with Vice Mayor Marion Andres and the entire city council personally thank TF-BBB and Sec. Cimatu. In his welcome address, the top city official said in their initial assessment, that the Marikina River restoration project was a success as it prevented flooding in the city during the heavy rains brought by typhoon Fabian.

“Gusto ko pong ibalita sa inyo Secretary Roy Cimatu, kanina po nag-ikot ako sa buong Marikina…dati po kapag ganitong malakas na ang ulan, may mga binabaha na pong lugar sa Marikina. Pero sa ngayon po, panatag pa rin kami. Maraming salamat po”, Mayor Teodoro said.

In connection with this, Mayor Teodoro announced that the city government will be acquiring equipment to continue and sustain the dredging operations in the Marikina River. “Being a downstream river, natural po yung silitation dahil sa pag-ulan. Maski nilaparan o nilaliman po natin ang ilog ay nagkakaroon po ng pagkitid o pagbabaw muli dahil yung mga putik na galing sa kabundukan [Sierra Madre] ay dito po bumababa sa Marikina”, Mayor Teodoro explained. “Ito po ang commitment ng Marikina City government sa DENR at DPWH, ipagpapatuloy namin ang dredging sa ilog to preserve what we have gained today”, he added.

Phase 1 of the Marikina River Restoration project widened portions of the Marikina River from 70 meters to 100 meters and increased its depth to about 2 meters.  The mayor also thanked the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) for repairing the river dike damaged by typhoon Ulysses last year and its plan to put up additional pumping stations in the Marikina River. “Ang mga proyektong ito ay hindi lang makakabuti sa kapanatagan, higit sa lahat po ay sa kaligtasan ng mga taga-Marikina”, Mayor Teodoro emphasized.

In addition, Mayor Teodoro also revealed that the city government and DENR National Capital Region will be signing a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on the establishment of a bamboo nursery in Marikina City to propagate bamboo and sustain the planting and rehabilitation of the riverine ecosystem. The city council is likewise looking into the possibility of declaring parts of the riverbanks as a “no-built zone” or “floodplain area” with the help of the DENR National Capital Region.

DPWH Undersecretary for Technical Services, Maximo L. Carvajal, was also in attendance to deliver the message of DPWH Secretary Mark A. Villar as TF-BBB co-chair. Other DENR officials led by Undersecretaries, Atty. Analiza Rebuelta-Teh for Finance, Information Systems, and Climate Change; Atty. Jonas R. Leones for Policy, Planning and International Affairs, and Benito Antonio T. De Leon for Enforcement were also at hand to witness the event.

The DENR National Capital Region delegation was led by Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan and her Assistant Regional Directors, Dr. Al O Orolfo for Management Services, Engr. Ignacio R. Almira, Jr. for Technical Services, and Martin Jose Despi for Special Concerns.

TF-BBB was created through an Executive Order issued by President Rodrigo Duterte on November 18, 2020. Its main task is to expedite and ensure post-disaster rehabilitation and recovery efforts of typhoon-hit areas.