MANILA— Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto on Friday said he has yet to decide if he is either in favor or against the Pasig River Expressway (PAREX), which will be constructed along the banks of Metro Manila’s biggest river.
San Miguel’s 19.4-kilometer, 6-lane elevated expressway is expected to connect EDSA, C5, C6 and Road-10 in Manila.
“Right now they have yet to present it to us in detail so I will give a statement or express my opinion to the public when I know all the details of the project,” Sotto told reporters in a chance interview after he filed his certificate of candidacy for his re-election bid.
“Ang nakikita ko pa lang kung ano ang nasa balita,” he said.
(I have only heard about it in the news.)
Sotto said he expects proponents of the project to discuss the issue with local officials before starting any contruction works.
“Dapat i-present nila sa amin. Dapat magkaroon tayo ng malalim na konsultasyon sa iba’t ibang stakeholder bago matuloy 'yung proyekto,” he said.
(They have to present it to us first. They need to hold consultations with different stakeholders before they start the project.)
Several environmental groups have been campaigning against the projects, saying it would pollute the river without easing traffic.
“You know while we might see some easing of congestion at the beginning of projects like this, demand will just eventually catch up and we’re back to where we began and that’s precisely why PAREX is not the solution,” said AltMobility PH director Ira Cruz.
“Transportation actually accounts for huge chunk of greenhouse gas emissions. So inducing demand further by encouraging more people to drive will bring, you know noise pollution, air pollution to all of these communities and obviously, the more people use cars, the larger the contribution of transportation will be to air pollution,” he said.
PAREX is expected to cut travel time between Manila and Taguig to about 10 to 15 minutes from 2 hours, San Miguel President and COO Ramon Ang earlier said.
Aside from the construction of an expressway, the project will also include a flood control component, as San Miguel will restore the depth of the river, which has become as shallow as 1 meter in some sections, he said.
Should there be no delays, PAREX is expected to be completed by 2023.