THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is willing to survey all waterways in Cebu City, in support of plans to clear their three-meter easement of illegal structures.

But there should be a request from the Cebu City Government, an official said.

“As of this time, we have not received a formal request on the intention of the Cebu City Government to demolish illegal structures within the three-meter easement. This will keep our communities who live along the riverbanks safer against flooding,” said Dr. Eddie Llamedo, DENR 7 information officer.

Tinago Barangay Captain Joel Garganera said in a recent interview that he wants to speed up the demolition of illegal structures along waterways. But first, boundaries must be defined, hence the need for a survey.

Llamedo said DENR has geodetic engineers under the Surveys and Mapping Division who can conduct the surveys as part of their technical assistance to local government units (LGUs).

He said this is a good time to relocate those who reside along waterways and who are highly susceptible to floods.

“Presidential Decree 1067 or the Water Code of the Philippines provides that banks of rivers or any water bodies should be free from structures or settlements within three meters for purposes of navigation and access in an urbanized city,” Llamedo said.

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DENR, he added, has also observed that households contribute the most to water pollution, even more than industries do.

Speaking during the 888 News Forum, Garganera said that the City is determined to demolish all illegal structures that encroached on creeks and other waterways.

“We need the support of our fellow barangay officials,” said Garganera, whom Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama has appointed to head a special group that will deal with illegal structures along waterways.

Garganera said he was happy that Senate President Franklin Drilon has agreed to support the cleanup of polluted Cebu City waterways and their transformation into scenic areas.

He added that the cleanup of waterways is the mandate of the Department of Public Works and Highways, but the City Government is working hard to take away the garbage and silt that contribute to floods and pollution..