The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) gave out the first-ever R.I.V.E.Rs (Recognizing Individuals/Institutions Towards Vibrant and Enhanced Rivers) for Life Award to the three cleanest rivers in the entire country.

The awards were handed by Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu on the occasion of DENR’s 32nd anniversary celebration held at the DENR Central Office in Quezon City on Friday (June 14, 2019).

Cimatusaid the award aims to raise public awareness on the need to protect and conserve the country’s rivers as the lifeblood of the earth.

“We aim to tap concerted action to protect the country’s rivers from degradation and pollution and ensure their suitability, sustainability, and further improvement,” Cimatu said.

The top prize went to Lamut River in Ifugao province, Cordillera Administrative Region. Second prize was given to Calbayog River in Samar province, Region 8, while the third place went to Manaba River in Bohol, Region 7.

Cash prizes of Php100,000, Php75,000 and Php50,000 were given to the 1st, 2nd and third placers, respectively.

According to Cimatu, the R.I.V.E.Rs for Life Award will greatly contribute to ensuring that the country’s rivers are kept clean.

“Rivers and creeks drain to bigger bodies of water and affect their condition. This is the case with Pasig River which drains to Manila Bay. Thus, ensuring the cleanliness of rivers is among our top priorities,” the environment chief added.

A total of sixteen (16) classified Class C rivers were submitted as entries by DENR regional offices. Nominees were selected by the DENR Regional Committee consisting of the DENR, Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and Environmental Management Bureau (EMB).

Entries were reviewed based on the list of activities/interventions undertaken by the concerned Provincial and Community Environment and Natural Resources Offices (PENROs/CENROs) on their nominated river. These include: Aesthetic Water Quality Improvement, Solid Waste Management, Partnership and Community Mobilization, Information and Education Campaign (IEC), and other activities, interventions and innovations.

According to Atty. Juan Miguel Cuna, DENR Undersecretary for Field Operations andSupervising Undersecretary for the EMB, the R.I.V.E.Rs for Life Award will be a continuing annual activity with winners recognized during the DENR anniversary.

“After we have awarded our very first batch of winners this year, I am sure our regional offices will work even harder to nominate their rivers to show how important our rivers are to us,” Cuna said. ###