Dredging of the Iloilo River and its tributaries had started with the recent arrival of Water Master dredging machine of the Department of Public Works and Highways with P5.8 million initial budget as operational cost.
Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog said that disposal sites of dredged materials were already identified and the project will also include rehabilitation and restoration of the Dungon and Calajunan creeks including removal of vegetation along the waterways.
Along the dredging operations is the ongoing construction of more than 3,000 housing units costing more than P300 million for displaced informal settlers at the city relocation sites known River Subdivision Plains I in barangays Camalig and Lanit in Jaro district and River Subdivision Plains II in barangay Sooc, Arevalo district.
Mabilog said the dredging at the Iloilo River covers some 2.2 kilometers from the Carpenter’s Bridge down to the Esplanade. Dredged materials are to be disposed at the 8-hectare vacant property along the river esplanade and another 2 hectare at the city government property behind the city agriculture office in Molo district.
The city mayor said the informal settlers along the dredging areas will have to be relocated first and full dredging of the whole waterways may start on May 2013 after relocation of informal settlers.
At the Calajunan Creek, an illegal fishpond that blocks the waterway and reportedly owned by Clarence Corteza, will have to be demolished before full blast dredging be conducted in the area.
On the other hand, fishponds owned by 5 other owners at the junction of the Iloilo River and Calajunan Creek will have to demolished.
At the Dungon Creek, dredging was already completed for 1.1 kilometer from marina to Taytay Zone 2 and ongoing in 2.77 kilometers from Magsaysay Village to Taytay Zone 2 with an initial budget of P5.8 million.
River and creek clearing including removal of vegetation, trees and wildings will be conducted in 8 barangays within 3 months with an initial budget of P2.6 million. A total of 398 informal family settlers will be relocated within 4 months to the Lanit relocation site.
Mabilog said that hopefully, all the dredging operations along the Iloilo River and two creeks will be completed by March or April next year.