Pasig River cleanup team get training as 'River Warriors'

- Faizza Farinna Tanggol -

MANILA, Philippines - Officials and staff from different government and private agencies working to rehabilitate the Pasig River and its esteros recently participated in a “River Warrior” training organized by ABS-CBN Foundation’s Kapit Bisig Para Sa Ilog Pasig (KBPIP) in partnership with the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP).

Fifty-two participants from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the engineering office and department of public services of the City of Manila, Local Inter-Agency Committee, PRRC, Palafox Associates, Ecosystems Technology, Cocotech, Biomatrix, Del’s Electrical, D&D Engineering, KBPIP, Manila Water and Maynilad literally made a “kapit bisig” and went through the River Warrior training consisting of team-building activities as well as AFP-led drills, exercises and PNP-led lecture on environmental laws.

The “River Warriors” was established to mobilize volunteers in safeguarding the Pasig River and its tributaries.

“To be able to clean the Pasig River, the team is everything. It’s the team that will make things happen,” said Gina Lopez, concurrent head of ABS-CBN Foundation-KBPIP and PRRC.

Lopez participated in the training together with her deputy directors Alan Gatpolintan of PRRC and Gerald Samson of KBPIP.

“The purpose of this training is to consolidate the team. Not from the mind, but from the heart. We can never clean the Pasig River if there are no River Warriors,” Lopez added.

“When we looked at our IDs, it felt so heavy because what’s written there is the word ‘warrior,’” said Sofie Santiago, a participant from DPWH.

“If you say ‘warrior,’ there’s responsibility there. So I hope that for this team, there’s a commitment from everyone to help,” Santiago added.

After the training, the participants were officially “knighted” as River Warriors by DENR Secretary Ramon Paje, Brig. Gen. Romeo Fajardo, Col. Adrian Sanchez, and Superintendents Carmelo Valmoria and Willie Tolentino.

Representing AFP, Fajardo was glad with the results of the training.

“They received good training because aside from the knowledge, they were able to institute some team-building measures for the overall effort of cleaning up the Pasig River,” said Fajardo. “So they learned to be a part of the team of the cleanup of the Pasig River.”

The AFP and PNP gave assurance that they will continue helping train the River Warriors and also assist in the cleanup activities for the Pasig River.

“This is not only the involvement of the NGO but also other agencies and local government units,” said Valmoria. “This is a really big help to the PNP. Rest assured that we, in turn, will also provide all-out support.”

Paje was thankful for the River Warriors’ help in guarding the esteros.

“The environment and our surroundings are not only the responsibility of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources,” said Paje. “It is a responsibility of every citizen of this country. Kapag nagtutulungan, lahat ng problema may kalunasan (There’s no problem that cannot be solved if we work together).”

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