DREDGING OPERATIONS. The amphibious excavator of the Department of Public Works and Highways-Ilocos Region arrives in Lingayen, Pangasinan on Friday (Jan. 28, 2022). The equipment will dredge silt and soil from river tributaries, starting at the mouth of Limahong Channel. (Photo courtesy of Municipal Information Office of Lingayen)

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – Dredging can now start from the mouth of Limahong Channel going upstream to the Basing River and other river tributaries in this town after the arrival Friday of the amphibious excavator of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Ilocos Region.

Limahong Channel, located along the Agno River, and other tributaries are heavily silted.

“Water almost could no longer flow. The soil that will be removed can be used in reclaiming certain areas, enhancing mangrove plantation, and strengthening the riverbank,” Mayor Leopoldo Bataoil said in an interview on Saturday.

The local government unit (LGU) requested for the dredging machine to address and help alleviate the flooding problem in Lingayen.

“The LGU hosts the team, providing them billeting and headquarters, among others,” he said.

DWPH will shoulder the overhead expenses, including the eight-man team, and dredging will continue “for as long as the town needs it”, according to District Engineer Edita Manuel.

This town experienced one of its worst floodings in 2019 when parts of Barangay Poblacion were submerged, including Maniboc and Alviar Streets where water from the river tributaries overflowed.

Kim Paolo Laforteza, the engineer who heads the excavation, said priority will be the removal of the sandbar that formed at the mouth of the Limahong Channel, hampering free flow toward Lingayen Gulf.

“We will make a canal. The deposit or silt that accumulated coming from different districts could not be easily removed from the river mouth to the shoreline. What we will do is multiple handling,” he said in another interview. (PNA)