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Diocese of Pasig opposes ‘detrimental’ PAREX

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Diocese of Pasig opposes âdetrimentalâ PAREX
Photo shows project layout of Pasig River Expressway.
San Miguel Corp. via Move As One Coalition

MANILA, Philippines — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Pasig has come out against the construction of a 19.37-kilometer elevated expressway running along the banks of Pasig River, calling the project by conglomerate San Miguel Corp. “detrimental” to the river, its surrounding communities and Metro Manila.

“We do not need another project like an expressway in order to be called a ‘livable city’ that will cause harm and death,” said Pasig Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara in a pastoral statement dated Friday.

Vergara said the Pasig River Expressway, which will run from Radial Road in Manila to C-6 in Taguig, will “worsen our future” and rejected it as a solution to traffic congestion in Metro Manila.

He said PAREX will negatively impact the ecology in the Pasig River as pollutants from passing motor vehicles will contaminate it. Moreover, building the expressway would require dredging parts of the river which the bishop said can make water quality worse.

He also raised the potential health problems that people living near PAREX could experience from the increased air and noise pollution in the area.

Vergara added that building PAREX will reduce the already sparse green spaces in Metro Manila and that neighborhoods under its shadow are likely to suffer from “urban blight” as these areas will be less attractive for homes and economic activity.

He also said that PAREX poses a potential disaster risk to Metro Manila should it partially or totally collapse in the event of a major earthquake and stands to “destroy our heritage.”

“We should not allow PAREX to erase our river of memory and to kill the river of life forever!” Vergara said.

The Pasig bishop’s arguments against PAREX are identical to those raised by concerned citizens and organizations who have warned that the P95-billion six-lane elevated expressway spanning Radial Road 10 in Manila to C-6 road in Taguig will have adverse economic, environmental, health and heritage impacts.

Despite this opposition, the Toll Regulatory Board, together with the Department of Transportation, signed the supplemental toll operations agreement with SMC on September 21, effectively giving the project the greenlight.

Three days later, the DOTR and the SMC held a groundbreaking ceremony for the project.

SMC President Ramon Ang on Wednesday defended PAREX and called the opposition to the project a “part of an orchestrated and continuing demolition job to paint the project as the opposite of what it truly is.”

In response, Move as One Coalition convenor Robert Siy said dropping PAREX and pursuing river rehabilitation and sustainable travel alternatives are “much better” options. — Xave Gregorio

PASIG RIVER

SAN MIGUEL CORPORATION

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