SMC ALLOTS P1B CSR TO SOLVE BULACAN FLOODS
San Miguel Corp. (SMC) has earmarked P1 billion to dredge the Tullahan river, part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) project with an overarching reach of solving the perennial flooding of low-lying Bulacan communities, and thus bolster the potential of its P734 billion airport.
SMC president and COO Ramon S. Ang said the Tullahan dredging is the initial stage of a five-phase initiative meant to dig up to five meters of the waterways and thereby address the flooding that has bedeviled the Bulacan communities like Hagonoy, Bulacan.
Hagonoy , which is perennially flooded , and other coastal areas in Bulacan ,according to Ang, will be planted with 190,000 mangrove trees. The mangrove trees will cover 76 hectares that together with the dredging of the Tullahan river, is expected to address flooding.
Ang said the company is banking on the expertise of foreign consultants in coming up with plans to make the rivers, tributaries, and bodies of water that are in need of cleaning, dredging and widening to further address the flooding concern in Bulacan.
“We’re just starting with phase one of the project, covering a 5.25 km. stretch of river system from Navotas to Malabon City. We have a long way to go, but we are fully committed to this long-term project that will benefit so many people and our environment,” he added.
“We committed to the people of Bulacan that we would help solve flooding in their area. Dredging the Tullahan is a major component of our flood mitigation strategies. Essentially, it will clean up and deepen the river system, increasing its capacity to handle heavy rains and allowing for floodwaters to flow more freely and drain into to the Manila Bay,” Ang said.
The province is where SMC is set to build the country’s largest and most modern world-class international airport, with groundbreaking set for October this year.
Ang explained that the Tullahan River is also a spillway for water coming from Angat and Ipo Dams going to the Manila Bay, hence the need to maintain its depth.
The first phase of the dredging is divided into five (5) sectors: Sector 1 from Manila Bay to Tonsuya Bridge; Sector 2 from Tonsuya Bridge to Lambingan Bridge; Sector 3 from Lambingan Bridge to Tinajeros Bridge; Sector 4 from Tinajeros Bridge to Tullahan Bridge, and Sector 5 from Tullahan Bridge up to Potrero.
Ang said that from these first five sectors alone, they expect to dredge a target volume of around 1 million cubic meters. To hasten dredging operations, SMC acquired larger excavators and a fleet of barges, tugboats, cranes, and dump trucks, specifically for the project.
Silt, debris, illegal structures cause flooding.
Ang reported that accumulated silt and debris as well as illegal structures have reduced the Tullahan River’s depth to only one to two meters in many areas, causing heavy floods in surrounding areas in recent years.