MANILA, Philippines - After bringing glory to the country with his critically-acclaimed films, director Brillante. Mendoza now uses his genius to help bring back life to a dying national treasure – the Pasig River.
The 2009 Cannes Film Festival Best Director is directing infomercials for “Kapit Bisig Para sa Ilog Pasig (KBPIP),” the 7-year clean-up campaign of ABS-CBN Foundation Inc. and the Department of Environment and National Resources through the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC).
The infomercials, which aim to raise awareness and inspire action for the environment, feature celebrities like award-winning journalist Karen Davila, child star Zaijan “Santino” Jaranilla, “Trivia King” Kim Atienza, sought-after drama actor Coco Martin, and Mendoza himself.
The celebrities are shot speaking about the right values and attitude towards the environment while immersed in the crowded and filthy community along Estero de Paco, one of the main sources of pollutants of the Pasig River.
“The project is to let the people become aware on what’s going on and how worst the situation is. Kasi naniniwala ako kahit ano pang gawin mo diyang paglilinis kung hindi mababago ‘yong pagtingin ng mga tao sa kalikasan, hindi magiging successful ‘yong project,” Mendoza said.
Furthermore, the acclaimed filmmaker said this is also the chance to show people that the Pasig River is not a lost cause.
“I was hoping to show yung resulta na may nangyayari na, na feasible pala. Through KBPIP may nalinis nang mga estero, nawala ang mga basura at nailipat ang maraming informal settlers. In other words, kung makiisa tayo rito nakatulong na tayo sa environment, nagkaroon pa tayo ng maayos at magandang buhay,” Mendoza explained.
Fresh from receiving awards from the 24th Fribourg International Film Festival and the 11th Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival for his film “Lola,” Mendoza shared that he has long been in talks with AFI managing director Gina Lopez for a project on the Pasig River.
Everything went into place last year when the Asian Development Bank gave a grant of $50,000 for the information drive of KBPIP with Manila Water to support the Pasig River Catchment Sewerage Project.
Aside from producing the infomercials, which will be shown on ABS-CBN platforms, KBPIP will also come out with a magazine and a children’s storybook on proper waste management and other tips in caring for the environment using the grant.
Mendoza said this project won’t also be his last for the environment, “I think for as long as the foundation (AFI) needs my services, hanggat kaya ko, I will be a part of it.”
KBPIP was launched February last year through a memorandum of agreement signed by AFI, DENR, and the PRRC in 2008. It has conducted dredging operations and riprapping on the stretch of Estero de Paco, a key tributary of the river with the help of DENR-PRRC, local government units in Manila, Makati, Pasig, Quezon City, Marikina, San Juan, and Mandaluyong, private corporations Manila Water and Maynilad, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
It has also relocated over 1,000 families to “BayaNiJuan sa Calauan” in Laguna, a resettlement site offering shelter, education, health care, and livelihood to former informal settlers along the Pasig River with the support of the Calauan local government, the National Housing Authority and TESDA.
Watch out for the infomercials soon on ABS-CBN.