Manila City Mayor Joseph Estrada graced the inauguration of the Estero Dela Reina Linear Park in Moriones, Tondo on Thursday afternoon.
Once home to around 700 informal settlers, the site now features a 198.88-square meter park with a manicured greenery and paved pathway along the banks of Estero Dela Reina. It extends from the Moriones Bridge to P. Herrera Street and uses solar-powered street lights.
The project is a joint undertaking of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC), Filinvest Land, Inc. (Filinvest), and the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in coordination with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the local government of the City of Manila, and Barangay 8 of the City of Manila.
In his speech, Estrada praised the people behind the project for improving the community by giving it "bagong anyo, bagong buhay, at bagong pag-asa" (new form, new life, and new hope).
He acknowledged the efforts of former DENR Secretary Gina Lopez in pushing for the rehabilitation of "esteros" or tributaries in Metro Manila.
According to PRRC Executive Director Jose Antonio Goitia, Estero Dela Reina is the 17th out of 47 tributaries in Metro Manila to have been rehabilitated in partnership with private groups. It is part of the Adopt-an-Estero program.
Under the program, Goitia explained, private groups like, in this case, Filinvest, spend for the rehabilitation of the tributaries while the PRRC and the local government take care of relocating informal settlers.
He said the 700 informal settlers of Estero Dela Reina were relocated to Norzagaray, Bulacan and Montalban, Rizal with each family given P18,000.
Goitia said the relocation will help save informal settlers from the dangers of living along tributaries such as acquiring water-borne diseases and accidents due to flooding.
"Today's event is a simple manifestation of the harmonious co-existence between a public and private organization," he said. "It stands as a paradigm where corporate social responsibility could be exercised in a more generous way."
Goitia said Filinvest did not disclose how much was spent for the project.
Filinvest officials present during the inauguration said the Park will become an integral part of the One Binondo project, a high-rise residential, micro-mall, office and hotel mixed structure that will soon rise near Estero Dela Reina.
"With this, we are putting maximum effort into providing a higher standard of living, an enhanced quality of life, not only for residents and visitors of One Binondo, but for the larger community that we are part of as well," said Michael Edward Gotianun, director of Filinvest.