Pasig River commission opposes postponing Manila Bay rehab

MANILAThe Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) is opposing proposals to postpone the rehabilitation of Manila Bay.

In a statement Wednesday, PRRC Executive Director Jose Antonio Goitia said postponing the rehabilitation would result in degradation of the condition of the Manila Bay and the Pasig River, as well as prolonged exposure of informal settlers to inhumane conditions.

The Makabayan legislative bloc has called for the postponement of the rehabilitation, alleging that it is being conducted without proper consultation with informal settlers.

Concern about the displacement of the ISFs (informal settler families) is unfounded since government agencies strictly adhere to President (Rodrigo) Duterte's 'no demolition without relocation' order. Said families have long been living in danger given their high exposure to waterborne diseases, and their inhumane conditions have made them vulnerable to committing illegal activities," Goitia said.

The solons filed last Tuesday House of Representatives Resolution No. 2452, which would recommend to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) the postponement of the bay's rehabilitation until a comprehensive study on its socioeconomic impact on marginalized sectors has been implemented.

The resolution also called for the publication of the rehabilitation master plan and consultations among sectors.

Goitia said the lawmakers' concerns and recommendations have "long been addressed."

He said consultations with the ISFs have been done prior to the start of the rehabilitation and its master plan is accessible through the Freedom of Information electronic portal.

Public consultations with the stakeholders, especially the ISFs, are done at least three times with site tripping to their new homes before relocation, Goitia said.

Relocating informal settlers residing along the bay is a top priority in its rehabilitation as they are at risk of contracting waterborne diseases, he added.

Pasig River, one of the major tributaries, runs through populated areas. It connects Luzon's two major waterbodiesManila Bay and Laguna de Bay. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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