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Climate and Environment

DENR urged to postpone public hearing on planned Pasig River expressway

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
DENR urged to postpone public hearing on planned Pasig River expressway
Screngrab from the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) uploaded on the website of the DENR Environmental Management Bureau shows the vicinity map of the proposed Pasig River Expressway (PAREX) project.
San Miguel Corporation via Department of Environment and Natural Resources Environmental Management Bureau

MANILA, Philippines — Mobility advocates on Wednesday said the damage from the proposed Pasig River Expressway (PAREX) will outweigh the benefits as it asked the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to postpone the public hearing on the environmental impact assessment report of the project. 

In a letter addressed to DENR Environmental Management Bureau Director William Cunado, the Move As One Coalition asked that the public hearing scheduled on March 25 be postponed. It said the July 2021 project scoping meeting for the 19.37-kilometer elevated highway was not carried out correctly and should be invalidated as the briefing material on PAREX was “inaccurate and deficient.”

It added that concerned agencies such as the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, National Historical Commission of the Philippines, Department of Tourism, Department of Science and Technology and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology were not invited in the public scoping exercise.

The coalition also stressed the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the project contains two different expressway alignments, which it said is “a serious error that will mislead and confuse stakeholders.”

In a letter sent on March 14, the Move As One Coalition urged the DENR to require San Miguel Corporation, the project proponent, to prepare an accurate and comprehensive project briefing document for the project scoping exercise and conduct a new public scoping meeting.

'Little to no benefit'

The P95-billion six-lane expressway will run along the banks of Pasig River, from Radial Road 10 in Manila to C-6 Road in Taguig, connecting the eastern and western portions of Metro Manila.

SMC said the infrastructure will ease traffic congestion in the capital region and rehabilitate the heavily-polluted Pasig River. The project proponent also said that PAREX, once complete, will have bus rapid transit system, dedicated bike lanes and pedestrian walkways.

SMC president Ramon Ang said PAREX is bound to be “one of the most impactful projects” during the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte “in terms of integrating the social, economic, and environmental needs of our people.”

But for the coalition, the proposed expressway “will deliver little or no benefit while causing significant harm.”

The groups said neighborhoods in the vicinity of PAREX will become warmer and suffer from increased noise and air pollution, and heritage properties along the river may be damaged.

The planned highway will also have a “significant negative impact” on the ecology of Pasig River and increase traffic congestion, they added.

“A project with negative impacts that exceed expected benefits should not be allowed to proceed, especially if the negative impacts are significant and not amenable to mitigation,” the Move As One Coalition said.

ENVIRONMENT

PASIG RIVER

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