The ABS-CBN Foundation has entered into an agreement with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for the rehabilitation and development of the country’s river basins, starting off with the Metro Manila River Basin which covers Manila Bay, Laguna Lake, and Pasig River.
The Foundation was represented by Ms. Gina Lopez, while Sec. Jose Atienza Jr. represented DENR.
There has been a series of discussions on the Pasig River Rehabilitation Project. Representatives from both the private and public sectors convened last month for a pre-planning technical meeting.
The goal of the project is to revive the waters of the Pasig River to Class C, that is, fishery water for the propagation and growth of fish and other aquatic resources; recreational water for secondary contact recreation such as wading, fishing, boating, etc.; and industrial water supply for manufacturing processes after treatment.
The team looked at the sources of the problem, what has been done in the past, what still needs to be done, and some possible alternative technologies/solutions and approaches.
The group later agreed to build upon the Clean River Zone (CRZ) Concept of the Sagip Pasig Movement.
Recently, the team joined by other advocates visited some of the successful CRZs in Quezon City, San Juan City, PUP, and Unilever Philippines in Manila.
Before this visit, Ms. Gina Lopez and Bantay Kalikasan Progam Director Marlo Mendoza also met with Manila Water President Antonino Aquino and Maynilad President Rogelio Singson discussing how to address the problem on wastewater, one of the main causes of pollution in river systems.
The team is now in the process of fine-tuning the CRZ concept since the problem in Pasig should be addressed at source. There will be one pilot CRZ per local government unit where tributaries flowing into the Pasig River are located.
Rehabilitating the Pasig River is an endeavor worth taking as it is challenging. But the team is hopeful that these joint efforts will eventually make a dent in the long term.