VIGAN CITY, Ilocos Sur: The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Management Office (PENRO) said a Taiwanese mining firm has been given permission to dredge Abra River.
The project is aimed at ensuring the safety of residents in at least five municipalities in the province against flash floods.
According to Raymund Sinay, PENRO officer, the silt has been building up at the river, making it shallow and causing the flooding of Vigan City and the towns of Bantay, Santa Catalina, Santa and Caoayan, during the onslaught of typhoons.
Local authorities have declared the said areas as danger zones.
Sinay said the recently conducted monitoring and assessment by PENRO and the Environment and Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) also showed that parts of the river have become too shallow that boats are unable to cross it.
“If the river is not dredged, rainwater during typhoons could no longer be contained and could cause severe flooding in the low lying communities which could also threaten the Heritage City of Vigan,” Sinay added.
He also said there is an urgent need to implement the agreement with Isla Verde, a Taiwanese Mining Company, for dredging operations to rehabilitate Abra River.
“This is the reason why the provincial government through Gov. Ryan Luis Singson entered into a memorandum of agreement [MOA] with Isla Verde to dredge and rehabilitate the said river,” Sinay said.
Sinay explained that the program is detailed in the memorandum of agreement signed by the Taiwanese firm and Gov. Ryan Luis Singson.
“Isla Verde will use its resources and equipment to dredge one kilometer length from downstream of the old Banaoang Bridge,” he said.
He also said that if there is any mineral extracted during the dredging operations, this will go to the company which will be sold abroad.
However, the company has to pay extraction fees and taxes due the local government in accordance with the revenue code.
Meanwhile, Isla Verde has established its mineral processing in Barangay Tamurong, Caoayan town and has its vessel ready for dredging purposes.