EDITORIAL — ‘Living water’

The Philippine Star
EDITORIAL � �Living water�

The past decades have seen several campaigns to rehabilitate the Pasig River. Among the most notable were those led by Amelita Ramos during her husband Fidel Ramos’ presidency, and then when Gina Lopez served for just 10 months as Rodrigo Duterte’s first secretary of the environment and natural resources.

Ramos had said that he could swim in the Pasig in his youth. Today the river remains unsafe for swimming, unless one is willing to risk developing respiratory, skin and other disorders. But solid waste management has improved, and finding floating corpses and aborted fetuses in the river has become less common. Water lily is regularly collected. This is partly to allow the smooth movement of the Pasig River ferry service and other watercraft. But the water remains so heavily polluted it cannot sustain aquatic life.

Making the river safe for swimming may remain a dream. But expanding the ferry service can ease the acute inadequacy of mass transport facilities. That inadequacy has compelled Metro Manila residents to use private vehicles, leading to an ever-expanding vehicle density. With no corresponding expansion in the road network, except for toll roads whose stiff rates keep away the majority of motorists, the situation has turned Metro Manila into the most traffic-congested metro area in the world, according to the latest TomTom Traffic Index.

Rehabilitating the Pasig and expanding the ferry service are looking more attainable with the involvement of top businessmen in the latest effort to revive the river. Last Wednesday, the Marcos administration launched its own rehabilitation effort, kicking off the “Pasig Bigyang Buhay Muli” in the city of Manila.

Joining President Marcos and First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos at the ceremonial launch were JG Summit’s Lance Gokongwei, SM Investment Corp.’s Teresita Sy-Coson, Kevin Tan of Alliance Global Group Inc., Manny Villar of Vista Land and Ayala Corp.’s Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala.

The campaign aims not only to revive the river but also to develop the riverbanks along the 25-kilometer stretch from the mouth of the Pasig in Manila to the Laguna de Bay into public parks and mixed-use commercial areas. As envisioned by the President, the river will be maximized as a “maritime highway,” while its banks will be “a permanent exhibit area of green technology that works – from solar lights to rain harvesting facilities, sustainable practices like urban gardens.”

Campaigns have been launched in the past to make the Pasig a “living water” again. With the resources and commitment of several of the country’s wealthiest, public expectations are high that the Pasig’s revival will be a success.

vuukle comment



  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with