Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu is expecting to see some improvements in the physical condition and water quality of Metro Manila’s creeks and tributaries in the next six weeks following the deployment of the so-called “estero rangers” to over 700 barangays in the metropolis.

Cimatu gave the more than 1,000 estero rangers until the end of December this year to “bring about change” in the estuaries assigned to them, during their mass oath-taking and deployment ceremonies held at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife in Quezon City on Friday.

“You are the chosen ones, recommended by your respective local government units,” Cimatu told the estero rangers. “You are the chosen few who were trusted not only to clean the trash in the estuaries, but also to prohibit people from throwing trash in these areas.”

The environment chief also described the role of estero rangers as “swift, silent but producing tangible results.”

Cimatu said the estero rangers would serve as the “communication link” between the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the community in relation to the ongoing rehabilitation of Manila Bay.

“We want the communication links to be in the exact place where people dump their waste,” Cimatu pointed out.

The DENR chief said he expects the estero rangers to “bring about cultural change among those who live along esteros.”

He also reminded them that their “children will be the beneficiaries of what we are doing.”

“The next generation will see better rivers and a better Manila Bay,” he added.

The DENR had identified 279 waterways traversing 711 barangays in Metro Manila, where there are alleys not reached by garbage trucks. These alleys are mostly populated by informal settler families.

The agency said that two estero rangers will be initially deployed to each barangay, or a total of 1,422. So far, 1,283 have been signed up and 1,142 of them attended the mass oath-taking and deployment ceremonies.

The employment contract of each estero ranger runs from November 15 to December 31 this year. After which, the contract may be renewed every month.

Under the contract, an estero ranger gets a monthly salary of P8,500 on a five-day workweek schedule. A ranger is tasked to clean trash traps in esteros, prevent indiscriminate dumping of garbage, and remind people about proper waste disposal. ###