THE rehabilitation of the historic Malandog River in Hamtic, Antique, is now a priority of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Western Visayas.
DENR Regional Director Jim Sampulna presented on Tuesday, December 12, the Malandog River Rehabilitation Plan before members of the local media.
He said that no less than Secretary Roy Cimatu “ordered to develop and improve the historic Malandog River.”
“What is known is that Malandog River is a historic one. And we have to protect and conserve the river, not only because of historic reason, but because of its scenic view,” Sampulna said.
Antique provincial environment and natural resources officer Andre T. Untal said that Task Force Malandog, composed of concerned government offices, all municipal governments of Antique, civil society organizations, private sector and volunteer organizations, has been established.
Initial steps were also undertaken to have a complete overview of how they will go about with the rehabilitation. These included the conduct of assessment, profiling and characterization of the river, inventory of boats, informal settlers and structures along the banks and river channel, study and documentation in preparation for the dredging activity, among others.
He said they would like to take inspiration from the Iloilo City River Esplanade. The Esplanade was part of the projects to help protect and preserve Iloilo River.
Malandog River is believed to be where the 10 Bornean datus first landed when they arrived in Panay during the 13th century. The river is located in the boundary of the towns of San Jose de Buenavista and Hamtic.
“The river serves as refuge to many fisherfolks and crew of fishing vessels as they anchor their boats in times of bad weather,” he said.
However, initial assessment showed low dissolved oxygen concentrations in the midstream portion of the Malandog. This can be attributed to the stagnation of the area due to the presence of fish traps and obstacle, he added.
Along this line, he urged the support of the media in raising awareness about the project and its significance not only for Antique but the whole of Panay Island. (PNA)