Gov. Emilio Macias II has lifted the temporary suspension order of a special quarry permit in favor of a company to undergo the re-channeling and dredging of the Siaton River, in Siaton, Negros Oriental.
The decision was a result of a series of meetings and consultations with stakeholders, Environment and Natural Resources and the Provincial Attorney’s Office.
The special permit was granted to Medalla Sia of JM Sand and Gravel.
Macias yesterday said he felt the urgency for a re-channeling project of the Siaton River, because it has already affected the adjacent agricultural lots and the road connecting Lake Balanan Resort and Dangula Demo farm.
Also discussed during the meeting was the possible heavy floodings of the poblacion barangays, including the municipal hall, if the river will not be rechanneled.
Community Environment and Natural Resources officer Mario Aragon said the immediate re-channeling should be done, since the rainy season has started.
He recommended for a boulder diking some three kilometers downstream to the Siaton Bridge from the irrigation dam of the National Irrigation Administration.
He said that boulder diking is not a guarantee protection but it will at least minimize the floods from spreading and destroying thousands worth of properties, agricultural crops and livelihood.
At present, the Siaton river is about 140 meters in width without flood and 200 meters during flood. Based on the cadastral map the original riverbed is only 40 meters in width.
Provincial legal counsel, Erwin Vergara, said Macias lifted the suspension order Wednesday yet, and he instructed that guidelines of the re-channeling and dredging plan approved by the Local Government of Siaton be followed up.
The monitoring team is composed of representatives from the affected barangays, municipal engineer’s office, irrigators association and a representative from the ENRD.
Every Monday the monitoring team will hold a regular meeting where they can make suggestions and recommendations while the project is going.
According to the rechanneling plan, the riverbed should only be 60 meters in width and 1.5 meters in depth. Each side will be secured through boulder diking which will be planted with trees to help protect the dike.
Earlier, residents and a farmers association had opposed the re-channeling project of the Siaton River. They blamed the quarry operation for the destruction of the adjacent lots due to the flooding.
Majority of the residents also suggested that the government build concrete dike to ensure the safety of the residents in the Poblacion and neighboring barangays.*MA
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