River council to decide on Esplanade mangroves


ILOILO CITY Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog will convene the Iloilo-Batiano River Development Council (IBRDC) to discuss issues concerning mangroves in the ongoing Esplanade projects.

Mabilog said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-6 is concerned that the mangroves in some parts of the Iloilo Esplanade are turning yellow.

The multi-million peso Esplanade project is implemented by contractors of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

“Lantawon naton, i-discuss naton tapos we will come up with win-win solution kay pamatian kun ano ang ilang reklamo kun may ara first-aid or bulong to correct,” Mabilog said on July 31, 2017.

“Kun wala, tan-awon ta kun ano dapat ta pagkahimuon,” Mabilog said.

Engr. Noel Hechanova, City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) head, said in an interview yesterday that a Technical Working Group (TWG) meeting in the IBRDC intends to give both DENR and DPWH the chance to explain their side on the issue.

“May issue nga gin-present ang DENR, report and findings, about sa mangroves. Ang DPWH claimed nga wala man… in fact, nag-tambok pa gid kuno ang mangroves in some parts nga gin-obra nila,” Hechanova explained.

Hechanova said the issue is better decided at the river council level.

While he has not seen the DPWH design, Hechanova opined that the problem is something that can be remedied.

“Para sa akon, dyutay lang siguro nga redesign sa embankment, mabulong na guro ang problema… kun mag-istorya sa design budlay, ka-kumplikado kay la pa ko kakita but ini-imagine ko lang nga ga-reklamo ang DENR nga kulang sa exposure sang tubig… dugangan sang inlet/outlet kung dyutay sa exposure,” Hechanova said.

But he clarified that he is not in the position to recommend solutions to the problem.

In an earlier interview, DENR-6 regional executive director Jim Sampulna suggested that the DPWH install box culverts in the Iloilo River slope protection structures to allow water to reach the mangrove areas.

Sampulna said mangroves need sunlight and saltwater to grow and survive.

“Ang sunlight dapat tatama sa roots niya kundi mapatay sila. Kailangan ‘yung seawater pumapasok continuous,” he said.

Sampulna said that once the embankment and slope protection deprive the mangroves of saltwater and sunlight, “the mangroves will die.”

He suggested that box culvert be constructed instead.

“Ang advise namin, if you will continue (with the design) dapat mag-lagay kayo ng malalaking imburnal nang makapasok ‘yung tubig… dapat maglagay sila ng culvert na malalaki, dapat marami, hindi lang malalaki,” Sampulna said.

Meanwhile, the DENR has yet to receive a request for permit to cut mangroves in the Esplanade project area.

The DPWH and its contractor are required to plant 100 tree seedlings for every tree, including mangroves, they will cut.

The Iloilo Esplanade is a tourism and rest and recreation landmark of Iloilo City. The slope protection and river embankment intends to protect the river from erosion.

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