Former Taliptip coastal residents will start work next month on the ongoing Tullahan-Tinajeros River cleanup operation of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) that has already rid the river of over 100,000 metric tons of silt and solid waste in the initial phase of the P1-billion project that aims to further reduce flooding in the norther cities of Metro Manila.
Pending completion of their work and health requirement, the first 12 graduates of the heavy equipment courses under the SMC-Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA) partnership skills training program will earn income and receive further training as SMC prepares them for its upcoming cleanup operations in Bulacan and in the Pasig River as part of the Pasig River Expressway (PAREX) project.
The heavy equipment course
“As we fastrack our dredging operation in the Tullahan River before the rainy season, we need more people and more equipment so we can expand coverage of the river cleanup. Employing our TESDA graduates will give them enough experience and competence to handle different kinds of heavy equipment while earning income,” said SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang.
Under the SMC-TESDA partnership skills program, TESDA provided training and assessment costs, and the training support fund under the Training For Work Scholarship Program or TWSP while SMC provided additional transportation and food allowances to the graduates.
And said that despite limitations brought about by the pandemic lockdown last year, the dredging and cleaning operations were able to extract 102,338 metric tons of silt and solid waste from the river as of February 2. In two years, SMC is looking to dredge a total of 1 million cubic meters of garbage from the Navotas-Malabon section alone.
“Our dredging operations has complemented the flood mitigation efforts of Navotas and Malabon as shown during typhoons last year and we plan to also start dredging further upstream to see other areas like Valenzuela, and Caloocan benefiting as we progress in the coming months,” he said.
“Having our heavy equipment graduates from Bulacan will definitely help us as we will need more personnel to operate our existing and newly-acquired dredging equipment,” he added.
Ang said SMC would also acquire special equipment which will include an amphibious excavator for shallow waters and river widening, and a suction cutter dredger that can handle big volume throughput operations like in Pasig River.
As part of its flood mitigation component of the MIA, SMC will also implement a river channel improvement program in tributaries belonging to the Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando River System (MMORS) in Bulacan. It plans to dredge, clean, widen and deepen the Alipit or Taliptip River, Sta. Maria River, and the Meycauayan River to reduce flooding.
“We have studied the Bulacan flooding problem and our flood mitigation project has taken into consideration future improvement and future urban development in the areas adjacent to the airport,” Ang said.
And said the constant cleaning and dredging of these rivers which all lead to Manila Bay is essential as the mitigation of flooding and removal of trash and obstruction will also aid in the conservation of the marine ecosystem and traditional fishing grounds.
Apart from Bulacan, SMC also plans to clean and dredge Pasig River in line with its P95.40 billion plan to build the Pasig River Expressway (PAREX) that is currently under government review.