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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Batac: Ilocos Norte’s Bislak River restoration inaugurated; PGIN partners with Harbor Star

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The Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) has formally inaugurated the Bislak River Restoration Project through a ceremonial dredging at Brgy. 14 Buyon, Bacarra, Ilocos Norte, on November 22.

The event was highlighted by the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between PGIN and and the project’s official contractor, Harbor Star Shipping Services, Inc., together with government agencies, namely the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Transportation (DOTr).

The dredging project aims to prevent widespread flooding in low-lying areas and create more local opportunities by extracting sands from the heavily silted waterways in the towns of Vintar and Bacarra.

During the ceremony, Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc remarked, “To all of you, congratulations! This is another monumental day in the history of the province; let’s make sure that this project goes beyond the ribbon-cutting ceremony. We have to make sure that this is truly beneficial project for all of us, and most especially to the great people of Ilocos Norte.”

Additionally, Mr. Geronimo P. Bella, Jr., President of Harbor Star Shipping Services, Inc. expressed his optimism for the project, stating, “Let us embrace the Bislak River dredging project as a symbol of progress, unity, and responsible environmental management. Together, we can ensure that the Bislak River continues to flow as a lifeline for our community, sustaining us for years to come.”

The dredging contractor is tasked with restoring the natural flow of the Bislak River in accordance with several regulatory documents including, the Joint Memorandum Circular 2019-01, DENR Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2020-07 titled “Rationalizing Dredging Activities in Heavily-Silted River Channels,” which outlines the implementing rules and regulations set by the Inter-Agency Committee, along with the guidelines from the Ilocos Norte government’s Revised Provincial Revenue Code of 2020.

Moreover, Harbor Star Shipping Services Inc. provided nearly P3 million in livelihood assistance to over 30 barangays surrounding the Bislak River in Ilocos Norte. Under the revenue-sharing agreement, 40% of the allocation will benefit the affected barangays, while 30% is earmarked for the municipalities of Bacarra and Vintar, and the provincial government.

Governor Marcos Manotoc has reassured neighboring communities of a substantial livelihood boost, emphasizing the utilization of extracted sand and gravel and their significant contribution to the province’s overall development.

Aside from the ongoing efforts at the Bislak River, dredging operations have commenced along the Tina-Cura Rivers in Sitio Boing, Barangay Maananteng, and Lipay in Solsona, earlier this month. (Mariell J. Pahinag)

(Source: Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte – Communications & Media Office)


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