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

Marje Pelayo   •   November 15, 2019   •   309

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

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)

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

Callamard welcome to visit PH as tourist — Palace

admin   •   March 5, 2018

United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings Agnes Callamard

MANILA, Philippines —The government will not bar the entry to the Philippines of Agnes Callamard, the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings or summary execution.

This is if she will tour the country as a tourist according to Malacañang.

“Pero welcome po siya dahil (She is welcome because) after all, we welcome all tourists. Kaya lang ang masama doon, huwag niyang palalabasin na nag-iimbestiga siya kasi ang pagpasok sa Pilipinas, hindi naman po iyan katumbas ng pag-iimbestiga (But she should not claim that she’s investigating because an entry to the Philippines does not mean she’s allowed to conduct an investigation),” the Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

However, the official  also quipped some innuendos against the said UN rapporteur and even invited her to take a swim in Pasig River.

“So kung siya po ay papasok sabihin niya, magkaroon siya ng obserbasyon bilang turista. So kapag pumasok po siya ay aanyayahan po namin siyang lumangoy sa malamig na tubig ng Pasig River,” said the presidential spokesperson.

(So if she wants to enter the Philippines, she may do so as a tourist. When she visits we will invite her to swim in Pasig River.)

Roque has previously said that the Duterte administration is open to conduct an investigation into the government’s anti-drug war except for Callamard because of her bias.

The palace will also prohibit coordination between the investigator and the police and military personnel as directed by President Duterte.

Roque, meanwhile, will recommend a rapporteur to the president who will be allowed to investigate the administration’s war on drugs.

“Bakit ka nga naman makikipagtulungan sa isang rapporteur na mayroon na siyang konklusyon at ang kinakailangan na lang niya ay ilang bagay para masuportahan iyong kaniyang konklusyon? Makikipagtulungan lang po tayo doon sa mga tao na wala pang konklusyon at mayroon pong katapatan na talagang mag-iimbestiga bago magkaroon ng konklusyon,” said the official.

(Why would you work with a rapporteur who had already drawn her own conclusion and only needs a few details to support said conclusion? We will only work with people who have not drawn their own conclusions and can be trusted to conduct an investigation before reaching a conclusion.) — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News and Rescue

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