Informal settlers cause garbage piles in Manila ‘esteros’ — authorities

admin   •   March 3, 2018   •   11163

FILE PHOTO: Houses built along the Estero de la Reina in Tondo, Manila

MANILA, Philippines — Many families choose to live in the riverbanks along Pasig River in Manila.

The reason, they say, is the lack of assurance regarding their relocation.

In such situation, they are left with no choice but to endure the pollution in Estero de la Reina.

The family of Rachel Madalag is among those who will be relocated from the side of Estero de la Reina in Tondo, Manila to a municipality in Bulacan.

For Rachel Madalag, although there is no assurance in their lives in the relocation site in Bulacan, it is more acceptable compared to the risks on the health of her four children brought by the polluted river.

“Nag-aalala po kasi gawa ng may mga lamok. Tapos yung amoy nila, amoy ng ilog (I worry a lot because of mosquitoes and the stench of the river) ,” said Madalag.

According to the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC), a huge volume of the garbage in the esteros (drainage canals) of Manila, Pasig River, and  Manila Bay comes from the informal settlers.

“Pinakiusapan na rin natin ang mga nakakasakop na LGU [local government unit] na tulungan kami sa paglilinis ng mga ka-ilogan (We have called on the LGUs within our vicinity to cooperate with us in cleaning up the rivers),” the PRRC Executive Director Jose Antonio Goitia said.

Estero de la Reina connects the 11 barangays in Manila City.

For some barangay officials, removing the informal settlers has always been a big challenge for them.

“Nabigyan na ng mga bahay ang mga yan eh. Nagbabalikan dito yan. Tapos sa amin ninyo isisisi kapag nagtapon sa bahay yan (These people have been given social housing already, they just keep coming back here. But we are the ones being blamed every time they dump garbage),” said Brgy. 60, Zone 5 chairman Onnie Torres.

“Malinis pa noon, kasi nga nasu-swimming ng mga bata (The river used to be clean back then and kids could still swim in it) ,” said  Brenda Miano, a resident near the estero.

“Sana yung hindi pa mga narerelocate, marelocate na para malinis na talagang husto yung ilog (Hopefully those who have yet to be relocated will be relocated soon so that the river can be completely rehabilitated) ,” she added.

Other esteros in Manila are also in the same condition.

This prompted the PRRC and other key government agencies to join forces to clean up these drainage canals. — Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue

PCG saves foreign national who jumped off Pasig River

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 28, 2019

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Search Operations Unit (SOU) rescued a foreign national who jumped off Pasig River on Wednesday morning (November 27).

The victim, identified as Mr. Johnson Obi from Cameron, Africa was found handcuffed after he jumped off Valenzuela Ferry Station.

Obi recalled he was handcuffed by unknown bystanders at his residence in Makati City. He said he was able to escape from his predators.

“Immediately, Mr. Obi was turned-over to the Mandaluyong City Police Station for proper disposition,” according to the PCG.—AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Pasig River rehab body respects Duterte’s ‘disestablishment’ order

Marje Pelayo   •   November 15, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte officially ordered the “disestablishment” of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) through Executive Order 93 released to the media on Wednesday (November 13).

Prior to the release of the EO, the authorities previously held by PRRC were already transferred to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Manila Bay Task Force.

DENR will be in charge of enforcing laws relevant to the rehabilitation of the Pasig River while the Manila Bay Task Force is mandated to “harness the Pasig River’s potential for transportation, recreation and tourism.”

Duterte first brought up the idea of dissolving the PRRC in September, saying the river is “uncleanable.”

In response, the PRRC management said it respects the President’s decision and vows to “abide by the order immediately” and to cooperate with concerned agencies for the proper turn over of functions, assets, liabilities and obligations in relation to its operations.

“Rest assured that the efforts for the rehabilitation of the Pasig River shall carry on as planned and we remain hopeful that the mandated agencies will continue the legacy of the Commission and the predecessors of the Pasig River rehabilitation program,” the agency management said in a statement issued Friday (November 15).

PRRC was established in 1999 under then President Joseph Estrada for the purpose of rehabilitating Pasig River that connects Laguna de Bay and the Manila Bay and traverses Metro Manila. 

It was hounded with controversy that led to the dismissal of its former head Jose Antonio Goitia due to allegations of corruptions.

November 14, 2019OFFICIAL STATEMENT ON THE DISESTABLISHMENT OF THE PRRCThe Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission…

Posted by Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission – PRRC on Wednesday, 13 November 2019

World Bank Group pushes study of plastic waste in Pasig River

Marje Pelayo   •   April 8, 2019

Pasig River

MANILA, Philippines — Plans to study plastic wastes in Pasig River and its tributaries, Marikina and San Juan rivers, are ongoing between the World Bank Group and the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission.

Currently, the World Bank Group is looking to survey the Pasig River waterway to know the extent of the project though the official agreement is yet to be signed.

This study is part of ongoing efforts to curb plastic pollution and at the same time, support proper waste management.

During the Marine Plastics Conference in the Philippines in Manila on April 4, Senior environmental specialist Katelijn van den Berg said the study would include surveys on the sources and impact of plastic wastes in areas located along the river.

The data from the research, according to the World Bank Group, will be used for policy dialogue with the government.

The project, which would take two to three years to finish, will be funded by the World Bank Group in cooperation with the Korean government, according to World Bank senior environmental engineer Gerardo Parco.

A 2017 study conducted by American and Dutch researchers revealed that Pasig River dumps over 63,000 tons of plastics into the ocean every year, which makes it the world’s second worst contributor of plastic waste to the world’s oceans.

“The Philippines is estimated to have the 3rd highest rate of mismanaged plastic waste worldwide,” noted Agata Pawlowska, World Bank’s Manila Office Operations Manager during the conference.

“The Pasig River and Manila Bay have been identified among the water-bodies around the world that need rehabilitation most urgently,” she added. – Marje Pelayo

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