MANILA – Metro Manila may face hotter temperatures and more severe flooding if the proposed Pasig River Expressway (PAREX) pushes through, according to groups that are opposing the project.
Seventy six groups and nearly 1,000 individuals have banded together to urge government to scrap the project proposed by San Miguel Corporation, saying the new tollway would "kill" the Pasig River, the capital region's main river system which is already suffering from severe pollution.
In an online press briefing, former customs commissioner Sunny Sevilla, who is now part of the Move As One Coalition said, their position is that no part of the Pasig river should be obstructed.
"Kahit anong scenario, kahit mismo doon sa mga larawan na inilabas ng San Miguel noong kanilang groundbreaking (ceremony), makikita naman po six-lane expressway po ito. Wala naman pong lugar sa baybay. So talagang na sa ibabaw po ng river 'yun," Sevilla added.
(In any scenario, even with the photos released by San Miguel during their groundbreaking ceremony, you would see it's a six-lane expressway. There's no more space along the riverbanks so it would be constructed over the river.)
RJ Mallari of Greenpeace Philippines said the project would harm Metro Manila's climate resiliency, and cause more urban heat and flooding.
"Kaunting pagbabago lang po sa channel ng mga ilog na 'yan pwede pong magdulot ng pagbabago sa sistema sa pagdaloy ng tubig."
(Any small change to the channel of the river might cause a change in the system of how the water flows.)
Mallari warned this may exacerbate the already severe flooding problem in some parts of Metro Manila.
Sevilla said they've received no response to the several letters they have sent to government including the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) as well as San Miguel president and CEO Ramon Ang.
SMC has already secured approval for the project from the TRB, and broke ground for its construction last September 24.
San Miguel has maintained that the PAREX project will not just address the traffic congestion problem in Metro Manila but also help rehabilitate Pasig River.