Flood-hit Laguna community starts cleanup of clogged river



GARBAGE piling at the boundary of Barangay Cuyab in San Pedro and Barangay Tunasan in Muntinlupa City clogs the waterway causing the river to overflow and flood the villages during heavy downpour. Photo courtesy of Bayan Muna

SAN PEDRO, Laguna—A community here, in fear of another major deluge, has taken upon itself the task of cleaning up a waterway clogged by huge piles of garbage.

“The garbage has become so thick you could literally step on it without sinking,” said Raymond Vizconde, coordinator of  Bayan Muna, which organized the cleanup of the Cuyab-Tunasan River at the boundary of this town and Muntinlupa City.

Armed with rakes and empty sacks, 110 Bayan Muna members and residents from the lakeshore villages of Cuyab here and Tunasan in Muntinlupa City collected garbage from the river’s mouth on Friday and Saturday.

Vizconde said because of limited equipment, they covered only 70 meters of the 12-kilometer tributary but were able to collect garbage, composed mainly of wood planks, used diaper and plastic materials,that filled up two dump trucks.  The entire river stretches from Carmona in Cavite to Laguna de Bay.

Still under water

Cuyab is among the lakeshore villages that remained under water since the August monsoon, with 463 families, or about a thousand individuals, still staying in an evacuation center. It also experienced flood that lasted over months after Tropical Storm “Ondoy” in 2009. In Muntinlupa City, about 1,000 families are still in evacuation centers after the August monsoon.

Vizconde said this was not the first time that they initiated cleanups. They also conducted a similar project in the wake of Ondoy. This time, he said, they were moved to do the river cleanup because their members in the lakeshore community were suffering from dealing with the piles of trash.

Rene Madrigal, 57, Cuyab resident and head of the Bayan Muna chapter in the area, had to send his grandchildren to his relatives’ home when flood hit them a few months back.

He said it was only recently that the water in their house, located a few meters from the river, eased, although the other parts of their village are still under knee-to-waist-deep water.

“Because it is clogged, the river overflows when it rains and that scares me,” Madrigal said.

But since he has been out of job as a former overseas Filipino worker, he said moving out was never an option to his family.

In 2010, the environment office of San Pedro and the Lake Management Office (LMO) under Muntinlupa City cleaned up the portion of the river over which both local government units (LGUs) have jurisdiction.

Villagers dumping trash

LMO chief Jet Pabilonia said the garbage the city regularly collected from its eight tributaries, among them the Cuyab-Tunasan River, was “significantly reduced” since, but what greatly contributed to the pileup were the residents themselves dumping trash into the waterway.

Felix Marinas, Cuyab village chief, however, said that majority of the garbage accumulating in the river came from the upland portions of San Pedro and Carmona.

“All those garbage ends up and piles up here because we are at the mouth. We are like the septic tank,” he said.

Marinas said they have a regular schedule for picking up garbage from the households.

Madrigal, on the other hand, said their activity was not only to collect garbage from the river but also to inform his neighbors about proper waste disposal.

The Muntinlupa LMO and the San Pedro environment office have also scheduled their own river cleanup on Monday.

But Bayan Muna is proposing that the rehabilitation of the Cuyab-Tunasan River become a continuing program by both LGUs by hiring 30 people from San Pedro and Muntinlupa.

Vizconde said the proposal was considered by San Pedro, while Pabilonia said they would have to study it first since Muntinlupa has existing garbage collectors.

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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GG4T5UNZ3P7SCHSRNJ7PF5JZMM Jimmy

    Anong klaseng mga tao ang nakatira diyan..??????!!!!!!!!!  Aba eh masahol pa sa tirahan ng hayop ang kapaligiran na yan ah….!!!  Yan na nga ba ang sinasabi ko eh.. marami sa mga Pinoy
    ang dapat binabatukan o sinisipa o mina-martial law bago tumino..!!!  “FAILURE” ang demokrasya sa Pinas..! ! ! ! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • generalproblem

      yung mga nakatira dyan member ng BAYAN MUNA. squatter area yan at dyan naglulunga ang mga tarantado ng san pedro (madurukot, killer, magnanakaw at iba pa) parang tondo yan at dyan ang HQ ng BAYAN MUNA. siguro yung lider ng bayan muna eh di na makahinga dahil sa baha kaya pinalinis sa tauhan nya yung basura. yan ang nangyayari pag pinoprotektahan natin ang mga squatter

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PZCN62UBWNKFSNDJ2D3JQBBBWQ max m

     isn’t this the governments responsibility  to keep the community clean and safe? where is the PADF or pork to help? shame on those powers in charge who claim that they care for the people actually dont care.

    • generalproblem

      hay naku puro ka asa sa gobyerno pati ba naman simpleng pag lilinis ng bakuran mo asa mo sa gobyreno. spoiled brat.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MHDYXOESUU67AMH324WVZKNFSI nilphil

    Yan ang dapat ginagawa ng Bayan Muna! Hindi yung puro reklamo at rally na lang laban sa gobyerno! sana yung ibang leftist group ganyan din ang gawin!

    • generalproblem

      tama ka dyan dapat yang mga aktibista na yan ay maging kasama sa solusyon sa problema hindi yung dagdag pa sila sa problema. saka yung mga squatter dyan sa lugar na yan ang actually na mga supporter nila na sila din mismo ang nagdudumi dyan sa ilog kaya dapat lang silang maglinis dyan.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7YOJEGCLSBCKUW2HKJ3KDNEVXM Domz

    This is one thing I like in this paper: No matter how small
    the community, its members’ concern for rivers and its collective effort to
    clean them up are treated as newsworthy like in this case of San Pedro –
    Tunasan waterway.

    Kudos to the reporter, too, for pointing out an important
    detail from her news source, which is that upper villages of this town (others
    call them taga-bundok or taga-itaas) are also to blame for that huge piling up
    of garbage in lakeshore villages. Cuyab, San Roque and Landayan don’t look good
    every time they suffer severe flooding, but I know that barangay officials and
    residents of these lakeshore villages always try their best to regularly keep their
    surroundings clean.

    I remember the time when we were called upon to act being
    boys scouts and later on being CAT trainees. I experienced more than five times
    in separate days joining classmates in cleaning up rivers and uprooting water
    lilies. We had our own sacks to collect plenty of garbage which lasted three to
    five hours during a clean-up day. My classmates were mostly from the lakeshore villages
    and I was a taga-bundok/itaas. When I grew a little bit older, I had time to
    lead a very small group from an upper village to clean up our own creeks
    before, during and after storms. Group members seriously felt “good” and “cool”
    during these times of “baba-babayani” (if you know this cool rap-song about
    bayanihan). It’s just that we were simply outnumbered by undisciplined upper


  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4R3GZTGML26TV2VGS6RVHP2THM Fred

    This is one endeavor that Bayan Muna is very, very, very productive.
    Other members of Bayan Muna who are planning to conduct demos or rallies, huwag muna ninyong ituloy.  Instead, please proceed to Muntinlupa and San Pedro to assist.
    Baka itong civic work ninyo can translate into additiional votes next year, kayo rin.

  • joboni96

    mabuhay kayo

    now for the educational part
    of training the people in the area

    1. sell plastics
    2. recycle paper
    3. biodegradable to fertilizer
    4. recycle wood
    5. river maintenance

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