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