Cimatu rallies public support for Pasig River rehab

Secretary Roy A. Cimatu of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has urged the public to support government efforts to revive the historic Pasig River, which once served as Manila’s source of trade and commerce.

“Taking care of the river is a shared responsibility,” Cimatu said as he encouraged the public, particularly the youth, to become “watchdogs in reminding the government of its responsibility” to restore Pasig River to its former glory.

“I welcome the public’s guidance and watchful eye in ensuring what is promised is delivered,” said Cimatu, who was represented by DENR Undersecretary Maria Paz Luna during the recently concluded Pasig River Ecological Tour.

The tour, organized by the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) and the DENR’s Strategic Communication and Initiatives Service (SCIS), was part of an information campaign ordered by Cimatu to raise public awareness on the importance of reviving Pasig River.

Some 150 students from various public and private high schools in Metro Manila participated in the guided tour with a lecture onboard a ferry boat traversing Pasig River.

The students were taught about the historical importance of the river, which connects Laguna Lake and Manila Bay. They were also introduced to the DENR’s new advocacy campaign called “Tayo ang Kalikasan.”

The tour started from the Plaza Mexico Ferry Station up to Guadalupe ferry station in Makati City.

Aside from Luna, the students were also joined by PRRC officials led by finance director Helen Quilillan, and advocacy and tourism division chief George Oliver dela Rama.

The DENR, through its Environmental Management Bureau, has been providing technical support for the Pasig River rehabilitation.

As part of the intensified government efforts, Dela Rama said the PRRC will further develop the river through continuous cleanup activities with its partners.

He added that the commission also plans to develop a multimodel transport system that will convert Pasig River as a viable means of transport, recreation and tourism.

According to Cimatu, the government’s rehabilitation efforts cannot succeed without broader public support.

He said that it was also important for the government to instill environmentalism into the minds of the youth.

“The DENR is responsible in communicating how important the river is to the youth, who have the power to change our relation with the river,” he said.

Cimatu likewise reminded that “there are times citizens, especially those living in cities, disassociate themselves from the environment.”

Echoing Cimatu’s statement, Luna said: “Environmentalism is not a battle you can win, it is a chore you have to do daily, like brushing your teeth, sweeping the yard.”

“Hindi po ito natatapos, you have to enjoy it,” she added.

Luna then called on the students to ask their families to patronage the Pasig River Ferry. “Let’s make the river viral,” she said. ###