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DILG tells 6 mayors: Save Pasig River

MANILA, Philippines -  Six Metro Manila mayors should help clean up and save the Pasig River, Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno said yesterday.

He said the local government units (LGUs) of Manila, Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasig, Taguig and Pateros – whose areas of jurisdiction are beside the river – must do their part in restoring the waterway.

“Governance of the water is just as important as governance of the land. It is the duty of LGUs in Metro Manila, where Pasig River spans, to ensure that residents and ISFs do not dispose their domestic waste into the river,” he said, referring to informal settler families.

He said if people living along the river continue to dump their waste into its waters, it makes the efforts of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) and other groups futile.

He said the PRRC’s goal is to restore the water quality to “Class C,” suitable for fishery, secondary recreations like boating and as a water supply for manufacturing processes after treatment.

According to the PRRC, the 27-kilometer Pasig River is much cleaner and more alive now compared to its condition in the 1990s, when ecologists declared it “biologically dead.”

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Sueno said the long-term solution is the relocation of “estero families” within the concerned LGUs’ areas of jurisdiction.

“How can we make Pasig River attractive for tourism and recreation if there are makeshift, crude dwellings and garbage in some parts of the river?” he said.

Sueno said another reason to relocate ISFs is to save them from natural disasters and floods, adding that houses “are ideally 10 meters away from the river.”

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