CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City— The Armed Forces of the Philippines joined the opening ceremony of the rehabilitation program of the Marikina River on Wednesday, February 17.

The ceremony marks the start of rehabilitation of the river under Task Force Build Back Better (TF BBB) that was created following the flooding in November last year.

The rehabilitation efforts include the dredging of the river, clearing of illegal structures in its easement areas, widening, and planting of bamboo trees along its banks to prevent erosion and siltation.

“We will have to show our political will here and sustain our efforts to rehabilitate Marikina River and other waterways. This is just a prelude to the bigger one,” Department of Environment and Natural Resources and TFBBB Chair Secretary Roy Cimatu earlier said, citing possible future projects in the downstream portions of the river.

AFP Acting Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil Military Operations, J7 Brig. Gen. Gabriel Viray III and Joint Task Force National Capital Region (JTF NCR)’s Commander Brig. Gen. Marceliano Teofilo joined top national government and city officials in the event.

The AFP will commit the 51st Engineering Brigade and the 355th Engineering Wing as engineering and technical support in the dredging and widening projects.

Earlier this year, the AFP through the 5th Infantry Division also provided security and engineering support to the TFBBB-led rehabilitation of the Cagayan river.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order No. 120 that created the task force for the post-disaster recovery and rehabilitation of typhoon-hit areas.

It is co-chaired by the Secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways with 22 heads of national government agencies, including the Department of National Defense, as original members.

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine Coast Guard, and other uniformed personnel are hereby directed to provide logistical and technical assistance in the rehabilitation and rehabilitation efforts,” further reads the Order.

“We commit our full support and will make all available assets and personnel to the initiatives of the Task Force Build Back Better,” said AFP Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana.

“Together, we can work to mitigate the damage caused by typhoons and help keep our people safe as we brace for stronger weather disturbances due to climate change,” Lt. Gen. Sobejana added./// (Photo by JTF-NCR)