Pasig River rehab agency abolished
Describing the historic Pasig River as “uncleanable” President Rodrigo Duterte has abolished the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) and consolidated all its current efforts to improve existing waterways in Metro Manila.
Executive Order No. 93 signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea transfers the functions of the PRRC to government agencies with related responsibilities.
On Thursday, the PRRC expressed hope that the agencies now mandated to clean up Metro Manila’s main waterways will continue its ongoing projects.
In a statement, the PRRC also vowed to assist the concerned agencies “in winding up (its) operations, as well as in the transfer of functions, obligations, assets and liabilities pursuant to the order.”
Successful in 2018
The PRRC was created in 1999 through an executive order issued by former President Joseph Estrada and was designed to rehabilitate the 27-kilometer waterway connecting Manila Bay to Laguna de Bay.
In 2018, the commission was recognized for its successful efforts to bring Pasig River back to life.
It was given the first Asia RiverPrize Award by the International River Foundation.
In September, Mr. Duterte transferred the chairmanship of the PRRC to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Budget and Management.
He also removed PRRC executive director Jose Antonio Goitia amid allegations of corruption.
President Duterte’s executive order mandates the Manila Bay Task Force to update and lead the overall implementation of the Pasig River rehabilitation master plan.
Among its functions, the task force was asked to harness the river’s potential for transportation, recreation and tourism purposes, and to undertake the rehabilitation and restoration of marine life.
The DENR was tasked to ensure that easements provided for in the Civil Code and other laws are enforced in all the creeks and waterways that drain into the Pasig River.
The department was also expected to stop the dumping of untreated industrial wastewater and sewerage into the river.
The Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development was assigned to expedite the relocation of informal settlers and other unauthorized or unlawful occupants along the banks of the river, while the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and the Department of Public Works and Highways were to oversee the dismantling and removal of all structures and other encroachments built along the Pasig River.
The two agencies will also undertake civil works such as the dredging and cleaning of the river and all the inland channels, esteros and waterways that drain into it.
The agencies were to coordinate with the Department of the Interior and Local Government, local government units and the Philippine National Police Maritime Group in carrying out these functions.
The President earlier remarked that the Pasig River was “already uncleanable” because houses and factories along its banks had been dumping waste into it since the Spanish colonial period.
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