TACLOBAN CITY – Several public hearings have been lined up for the proposed ordinance seeking to protect the Catarman River in Northern Samar and its tributaries, an official announced on Wednesday.
Authored by Councilors Nerissa Daclag, Fernando Carpio, Lito Custorio, and Karl Andre Balajadia, the proposed measure is called “Catarman River Protection and Conservation Ordinance of 2021.”
The ordinance primarily seeks to rehabilitate the tributaries such as the twin Maroyondoyon and Caglangkoy creeks in Molave village as well as the Taguibian River in Cawayan village.
“Let’s all work hand in hand to protect our environment for a better and brighter tomorrow before it’s too late,” Daclag said in her social media post.
Since Feb. 17, public hearings have been held in the villages of Cervantes, Macagtas, Bangkerohan, and Catarman town center. The town is the capital of Northern Samar province.
The Catarman River, a major provincial river in Northern Samar, divides the eastern and the western parts of the capital town of the province. It is fed by several tributaries.
Under the proposed ordinance building of houses, toilets, pigpens, and other structures within the buffer and easement zones of the river system will be prohibited, Daclag.
Also banned are littering, throwing, and dumping of solid waste; discharge of untreated liquid waste; cutting of trees, bamboos, or nipa palms; use of chemical and other poisonous substances; and dumping of special wastes along the river zones.
Once approved, violators will be fined PHP500 to PHP2,500 and be in jail for 15 to 30 days.
Pollution at the river was due to rampant dumping of garbage, open defecation, and discharge of wastewater into the streams.
The ordinance also seeks to build river control, dredging of Catarman River delta, bamboo and nipa production, trees preservation, and organization of a team to monitor and spearhead regular clean-ups in the river and its channels.
Once approved, the ordinance will create the “Care Catarman River Council” which shall be chaired by the town mayor with the town council chair on environmental protection as vice-chairman. (PNA)