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Science and Environment

Dagupan river gets thumbs up from academe

Eva Visperas - The Philippine Star

DAGUPAN CITY, Philippines – A team from the University of the Philippines’ Marine Science Institute (UPMSI) checked on the river tributaries here and came away impressed with the “live artery of the city.”

“Reconnaissance Survey of the River System” was conducted last Dec. 7 and 8 by UPMSI professor Caroline Jaraula and two other researchers upon the invitation of Mayor Belen Fernandez in the continuing effort to improve and clean the rivers for the benefit of small fisherfolk.  

Jaraula said the city government is on the right track in keeping its rivers clean from illegal structures and river debris under the program “Sa Ilog Ko, May Pagbabago.”  

“You have a healthy river which is healthy for the economy, healthy for livelihood and healthy for the whole system. Dagupan revolves around these rivers. They are beautiful. They have a lot of mangroves with a lot of promising results and activities,” said Jaraula. 

The city has seven tributaries: the Mangueragday River, Tanap River, Dawel River, Calmay River, Pantal River, Patogcawen River and Bayaoas River. 

Calmay River extends from Lucao, Carael, Tapuac, Poblacion Oeste, Calmay, Lomboy, Salapingao and Pugaro Suit; Pantal River from Pantal, Barangay 1, Barangay II and III, Pogo Chico, Pogo Grande, Lasip Grande, Malued, Bacayao Sur and Lasip Chico; Dawel River is along Dawel area; Tanap River is in Bonuan Gueset; Mangueragday is in Bonuan Binloc; Patogcawen is in Tambac, while Bayaoas River runs through Mamalingling, Bolosan, Manguin and Salisay. 

Jaraula also lauded the city for dredging the river and recommended that this should start at the mouth of the Calmay River in Pugaro due to the high concentration of silt from upstream. 

“The political will in Dagupan to cleanse its river from structures that impede the flow of water is laudable,” said Jaraula, referring to the city’s aggressive campaign against illegal fish pens and in taking efforts to retrieve submerged fishnets and bamboo stumps at the bottom of the river. 

Initially, the team recommended that each river system be developed according to their potentials in tourism, fishing, waterways, navigation and bird watching. 

On the operation of fish pens, Jaraula said this is the call of the city whether it will allow its operation provided that a place should be identified as a suitable area for this type of structure with maximum size and number in order to maintain the river’s sustainability. 

It’s overwhelming to note the healthy conditions of the rivers “because many can be developed and studied. We just need to enhance these,” said Jaraula. 

The team will make a further study on the data gathered and will submit its results to the city as soon as this is ready. 

Fernandez and Jaraula met during the 3rd International River Summit in Cagayan de Oro attended by 800 participants from local, national and international authorities, policy experts, river managers, public and private sectors, academe, indigenous communities, church-based organizations, marginalized sectors and other river advocates. 

Among the important topics discussed during the summit were river laws and policies, sustainable funding mechanisms, best practices, community empowerment, and integrated coastal management. 

“This is the challenge for us Dagupeños to step forward, to level up and continue with our advocacy to rehabilitate our river system and support the livelihood of our fisherfolk. And we will not stop until we have achieved our goal,” the mayor said.

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