THE Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said Wednesday that dredging in three parts of the Marikina River identified as priority areas will be substantially complete by the end of April.

The dredging works are expected to improve the flow of the Marikina River and minimize the flooding risk after its waters rose during the typhoons that hit the country late last year.

The DPWH is helping the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) rehabilitate the Marikina River basin.

“By the end of April, we will see a significant accomplishment of this dredging activity in time, for the months of May and June, the time when typhoons usually start entering the country,” DPWH Engineer Jerry A. Fano said during the launch of the Marikina River Rehabilitation project Wednesday.

He said the priority areas identified by the DPWH for dredging are the stretch of river along the Olandes sewage treatment plant, designated “Site A,” near the SM Marikina or “Site B,” and near the East Metro Terminal or “Site C.”

Dredging in the three priority areas is expected to move out a combined 95,000 cubic meters, he said.

During the launch, Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said the government plans to finish dredging at the three sites in about 65 days.

“I’m very sure that we would be able to speed up the movement of water in the river, and reduce flooding in the area,” Mr. Cimatu, who chairs Task Force Build Back Better, said.

Aside from the Wednesday launch of the pilot dredging activity in Barangay Kalumpang, Marikina City, the DENR also held a bamboo planting activity on the riverbank at Barangay Industrial Valley Complex, also in Marikina.

Fifteen days earlier, the DENR launched dredging operations on the Cagayan River, which overflowed and flooded towns in the Cagayan Valley late last year.

In a statement Wednesday, Mr. Cimatu added that efforts are now underway to dredge and desilt the Bicol River and Lake Bato, and rehabilitate floodgates and rivers around Mayon Volcano. — Angelica Y. Yang