Residents of a creekside community in Manila received the gift of light for the New Year with the installation of the first solar-powered street lamps in the city.
“We’re bringing the light of the sun to this place which used to be dark,” ABS-CBN Foundation managing director Gina Lopez told the Inquirer on Friday at the ceremonial lighting of the 29 solar lamps along Estero de Paco, mainly on the easement from Osmena Highway to Quirino Avenue.
The 2.9-kilometer estero is the pilot area chosen for greening and beautification by ABS-CBN’s Kapit Bisig Para sa Ilog Pasig (KBPIP), the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission and other partner agencies.
“The cleanup of this estero which used to be filled with garbage is Gina’s everyday gift to you,” Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim told the residents. “Now there are streetlights and you can go out for a stroll.”
The lamps automatically light up at night and go off to recharge during the day, according to Rey Reyes of Adtel Inc., a sister company of ABS-CBN, which provided and installed the solar lighting system.
Reyes advised the residents not to congregate directly under the lampposts to conserve energy. The posts have sensors that automatically increase the lamps’ brightness when warm bodies are nearby, he said.
Each streetlight costs P25,000, bringing the total project cost to P725,000. The funds came from the proceeds of the 11.20.2011 Run for the Pasig River held by KBPIP.
The lighting system’s battery packs are expected to last for three to five years, while the solar panels and LED (light-emitting diode) lamps can last for 25 years.
Lim lauded Lopez and the ABS-CBN Foundation for the improvements in Estero de Paco which, according to him, previous Manila mayors, including himself, had failed to accomplish.
“We weren’t able to clean up the estero,” he said. “Good thing Gina found a way. She has made many sacrifices to spearhead laudable projects.”
In return, Lopez thanked Lim for the support and cooperation and lauded the block leaders and so-called “river warriors” of the community for reducing the volume of the garbage that ends up in the waterway.
“No matter how much money we put into this project, it will not be successful if the people do not pledge to help in achieving decent living (conditions),” Lopez said.
“I hope you take care of the lamps. I hope they don’t get stolen,” she added.