President Duterte has backed the proposed dredging of Bicol River to minimize flooding in the surrounding areas during typhoons.
The President however said he prefers a single person over a committee to oversee the river development project in disaster-prone region to ensure its swift implementation.
Duterte made the remarks after local officials proposed to the national government to dredge the heavily silted Bicol River to help ease the problem of perennial flooding. He was in Camarines Sur to attend a situation briefing and assure its people of the government swift aid to help them recover from a series of typhoons.
“I can only give you a guarantee that I will support the project,” Duterte said in his remarks. “If there is somebody, I need one man per project,” he added.
In the meeting with the President, Camarines Sur Governor Miguel Luis Villafuerte raised the proposed dredging of Bicol River to solve or curb flooding in the province. The governor mentioned there was World Bank study in 2013 on the importance of Bicol River dredging, adding that flood control project can be implemented in phases starting next year.
“We would be glad to accommodate you, whatever it is. If the World Bank doing the project study, sige kung may pera (go ahead if there’s money),” Duterte said.
Presidential Adviser for Bicol Affairs Marvel Clavecilla also sought the revival of the Bicol River Basin Development project during the meeting with the President. He admitted there might be some social impact as it may affect some towns in the area.
Duterte expressed support for the project and reminded local authorities to address such concerns related to the program.
“This is a good one. If you can construct a basin, you can minimize the destruction. Dapat i-pursue ‘yan (That should be pursued),” he said. “If you can start, I’d be happy to help you there,” Duterte said.
Typhoon Ulysses has left a large trail of death and destruction when it battered many parts of Luzon and the Bicol region. The death toll from the typhoon has reportedly risen to 67, according to disaster response authorities.