By NITZ ARANCON
Rufus wants river declared ‘Cultural Heritage Zone’
A BILL being pushed by Rep. Rufus Rodriguez of the city’s 2nd District seeks stricter rules and regulations on industries along the Cagayan River and its tributaries, and a ban on new ones.
Rodriguez’s authored House Bill 434 seeks to declare the river and its tributaries as a “Cultural Heritage Zone.”
The Cagayan River, with headwaters in the Kalatungan and Kitanglad mountain ranges, traversing Talakag, Baungon and Libona towns in Bukidnon up to Macajalar Bay in Cagayan de Oro, serves as a drain for north central Mindanao.
If approved, the river and its tributaries would be categorized as a cultural heritage up to Bukana, Bonbon and Macabalan.
The bill, he said, also seeks stricter rules and regulations on sand and gravel quarrying along the river.
The House committee on basic education and culture approved Rodriguez’s bill on Wednesday, fiesta day in the city.
Rodriguez told the Gold Star Daily that the propesed measure is aimed at preventing further damages and ridding the river of pollution from piggeries, poultry and factories, including hydroelectric power dams and the like.
“Dili kita gusto nga ang atong Cagayan de Oro River mapareho sa Pasig River nga hugaw na kayo tungod sa pollution gikan sa mga pabrika,” he said.
Rodriguez said he and other congressmen also see the need to protect rocks and boulders, minerals and artifacts in the Cagayan River, noting that Cagayan de Oro’s first settlement was along the river.
“Ang unang settlement sa mga tawo ning atong syudad na-a sa suba, ug na-a diha ang ilang mga gigamit nga mga bato ug mga artifacts nga dapat ma-preserve,” Rodriguez said.
He said he was working to convince more congressmen not to oppose the proposed measure when it reaches the House plenary.
Rodriguez said he was also expecting Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr., a Cagayanon, to support the proposed measure and convince members of the Senate into agreeing to declare the Cagayan River as a “Cultural Heritage Zone.”