Group supports Pasig River Expressway construction, says to ease MM congestion

Benise Balaoing, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 06 2021 07:37 PM

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MANILA – A think-tank is in favor of the construction of the Pasig River Expressway (PAREX), saying Wednesday it will help ease congestion in Metro Manila.

Various environment, heritage, and transport groups have opposed the building of the 19.4-kilometer, six-lane elevated expressway, claiming that will not improve traffic and even damage the environment and nearby heritage sites in the metro.

“When the conversation about PAREX started I think last year, when the Skyway was finished, we thought that it is a much-needed relief to the congestion in the Metro Manila,” said Pinoy Aksyon for Governance and the Environment convenor Bency Ellorin.

“Now what we thought is that the problem of the metro city is congestion. And one of the solutions, long-term solutions, sort of solutions to that, would be to provide exits, o parang breathers. One of it is to connect yung north and south expressway, which is the Skyway, and now the PAREX which will connect Manila to the outer bounds of Metro Manila, Rizal.”

“The transportation system, we believe, would hasten traffic and provide people not just to converge in Metro Manila all the time, but to go out of the peri-urban areas for the residences and other economic activities,” he explained.

Ellorin also noted that the construction of PAREX will be done alongside a project to improve the water quality of Pasig River.

“Now, ang nakita nga namin ito is, may separate na portion na project to rehabilitate the river to improve its water quality. Dapat tingnan natin yun.”

(What we saw here is that there is a separate project to rehabilitate the river to improve its water quality. We should see that too.)

Ellorin said the construction of PAREX won’t necessarily cause damage to the Pasig River.

“Currently, Pasig River is in a state of disrepair. Now, we ask ourselves collectively, as a people, ano ba ginawa natin (what did we do)? Now we blame government for failure to protect the river. We look at local government units for accountability for failure to provide open spaces and green spaces in the metropolis,” he said.

“But, who’s taking the cudgels for the river? Now putting an infrastructure doesn’t necessarily mean that the environment will be damaged. We have always believed that proper planning, consultation, and yung mismong malasakit sa kalikasan, pwede nating integrate sa infrastructure.”

“[It] doesn’t necessarily mean na ‘pag may infrastructure project, masisira agad yung kalikasan. In fact, infrastructure project, if planned properly, can enhance the environment,” he said.

A transport group had earlier said that San Miguel Corporation and the Department of Transportation signed the death sentence of the Pasig River when they inked the supplemental toll operations agreement for PAREX, saying the project “throws out all of the initiatives and efforts that are being done to revive Pasig River.”

--ANC, 6 October 2021