ROXAS City, Capiz – The Panay River Development Council (PRDC) agreed on Oct. 13, 2016 to remove illegal structures and relocate informal settlers from the province’s biggest river and its tributaries.
“Illegal settlers along the river and its tributaries are the most vulnerable to hazards that come with living there,” said Capiz provincial legal consultant Ronnie T. Dadivas.
“Local government units (LGUs) are expected to provide relocation for those affected by the relocation. If they can’t provide, they must give financial assistance for 60 days of the minimum amount of minimum wage,” Dadivas added.
Other actions the council approved were:
- conduct of ocular inspection;
- abate industrial/wastewater and sewerage dumping;
- abate unauthorized dumping of garbage most especially in the market and other commercial establishments;
- concerned LGUs to provide relocation or assistance to affected families and enjoin building inspectors to monitor closely similar illegal activities along Panay River and its tributaries;
- file charges against violators of law including public officials if the latter neglect their duty; and
- public information campaign stating the reasons to protect, manage, and preserve Panay River.
The council also approved the following resolutions:
Resolution notifying the LGU concerned to take the lead in implementing the removal of illegal structure with assistance of national government agencies Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Department of Public Works and Highways and the Panay River Task Force; and
Resolution requesting city and municipal agriculturists to submit all registered and non-registered owners of fishing gears with reservation
The council also discussed the Water Code of the Philippines and the Philippine Fisheries Code.
Article 51 of the Water Code of the Philippines states that water easement must be observed in riverbanks, streams, seashores, and lakes. Water easements for public use are: 3 meters for residential areas; 20 meters for agricultural areas; and 40 meters in forest areas.
Section 51 of the Philippines Fisheries Code mandates that “fish pens, fish cages, fish traps and other structures for the culture of fish and other fishery products shall be constructed and shall operate only within established zones duly designated by LGUs in consultation with the [Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Councils (FARMCs)] concerned.”
Meanwhile, Section 103 (d) of the Philippines Fisheries Code states that “it shall be unlawful for any person who causes obstruction to navigation or flow or ebb of tide.”
The council is also planning to craft a five-year management and rehabilitation plan for the Panay River.
The PRDC also agreed to implement the same action plan for other rivers in Capiz, namely those under the jurisdiction of Ivisan, Sapian, Pilar, and President Roxas towns.
Dadivas said the PRDC’s action plan is in line with Gov. Tony Del Rosario’s pursuit to protect the rivers for the current and future generations. (Capiz Aksyon News Center/Michelle Oropio and RJ Mijares/TGD)