QUEZON CITY, Sept. 17 (PIA)-Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, also the concurrent chair of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) vowed to get rid of all illegally-berthed vessels in the Pasig River.
During his first visit at the PRRC after President Rodrigo Duterte issued Executive Order (EO) No. 90 transferring the chairmanship of the PRRC to the DENR, Cimatu discussed his plans to rehabilitate the historical river.
He said he noticed a lot of parked vessels at the Pasig River and would like to have it removed, citing the reason for his disapproval of the unauthorized docking of ships in the river.
"Yung mga nagpa-parking dyan, dyan na rin sila natutulog, dyan na rin sila dumudumi." Cimatu said. (The ones who park there also sleep there and do their business there)
According to Cimatu he has sought the guidance of the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), the government agency which exercises jurisdiction of all vessels, shipping lines, and similar enterprises in the country's maritime industry.
"Nagtanong ako sa MARINA kung may karapatan ang mga ito na magparking diyan, they don‟t have any authority," he stated. (I asked the MARINA if they have the right to park there.)
The environment chief admits that the increasing number of vessels in the river has been an "eyesore."
"Di nila pwede parking-an yang Pasig River. That is supposed to be the cleanest river. Having them removed will be our first operation," he added. (They can't park in the Pasig River.)
Cimatu made it clear that during severe weather condition, vessels can be anchored on the river, however, when it's over, vessels must go back to their designated harbors.
He also vowed to address the longstanding garbage problem hounding the Pasig River and its connected tributaries.
"All the esteros should be clean and all those garbage na nasa ilalim ng tubig ay dapat maalis," Cimatu said, asserting his objective to remove all garbage in the rivers and esteros in Metro Manila.
The environment chief lamented the fact that there are those who indiscriminately dispose of their garbage in the river and tributaries.
"Kung wala lang sanang nagta tapon sana dyan sa mga estero, eh wala na sana tayong problema. Through the years ay ganyan ang nangyayari, kaya ang kapal-kapal ng basura sa ilalim," Cimatu said.
He pointed out that there are laws, Republic Act No. 9003 or the "Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 in particular which provides for a systematic, comprehensive, and ecological solid waste management program in the country.
The PRRC has been implementing various programs to address waste problem besetting Pasig River and its 47 identified tributaries since 2012 like resettlement and cleanup activities. Yet, the whole of PRRC admitted that much work has still to be done.
"We are tackling a very complex and huge project, we must work hard together and get it done, "Cimatu said. (PIA InfoComm/PRRC)