After a year of engaging private sector support to revive major creeks and rivers, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will gather all adopters of esteros in Metro Manila in a day-long event to share experiences and challenges of each company in rehabilitating Metro Manila’s waterways.
Slated on Friday (Sept. 16), the event dubbed, “Making Headways in Cleaning Metro Manila Waters” is a forum for key partners and other stakeholders of the Adopt-An-Estero/River Program.
Launched in 2010, Adopt an Estero/River program is a collaborative undertaking among the estero communities, private entities, local government units and the DENR. The event is in support of the celebration of September as National Cleanup Month.
DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje has been actively promoting the program, highlighting the importance of sustained participation of barangays and estero communities in maintaining clean waterways.
“The experiences our private partners had in laying the groundwork for the rehabilitation of our esteros provide us with a wealth of information that other stakeholders can learn from,” Paje said.
At the same time, Paje said the program has also enabled the DENR to strengthen its ties with the barangays.
Among the private sector partners who will be presenting their unique experiences during the forum include Manila North Tollways Corporation (portions of the Tullahan River at Barangays Ugong in Valenzuela City and Talipapa in Quezon City); Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association and Sagip Ilog Pilipinas Movement (Diliman Creek and its minor tributaries); San Miguel Corporation (Tullahan River from MacArthur Highway all the way to Manila Bay); AMKOR Technology Philippines Inc. (Palico Creek located at Brgys. Buli and Cupang in Muntinlupa City); and Skyway Operations and Maintenance Corporation (Maricaban Creek traversing the cities of Taguig, Makati, Pasay and Paranaque).
Artist Noel Cabangon, also designated as Ambassador for Philippines Rivers, is also expected to attend the event.
Other government agencies such as the Metro Manila Development Authority and the Quezon City Government, as well as key stakeholders in the barangay level are also expected to speak at the forum.
Paje adds that the forum will also help strengthen coordination among agencies and other partners who are implementing similar programs for estero clean ups and dredging activities.
Since its launching barely a year ago, the Adopt-an-Estero/River Program of the DENR has already gained widespread private sector support, drawing together some 208 signed agreements with private companies to clean-up esteros and rivers all over the country.
Under the program, private company partners will undertake environmental improvement on the waterway they have adopted. This may include regular clean-up activities, dredging of the creek as well as information and education campaigns, community mobilization activities, and trainings for concerned stakeholders.
The DENR through the EMB its regional offices and the Laguna Lake Development Authority for Metro Manila and its nearby regions will intensify monitoring of industrial/commercial establishments, and undertake, among others, regular water quality monitoring and provide the necessary technical assistance to concerned leaders and stakeholder groups in the area.
In addition to this, the concerned parties also agreed to determine the necessity of, and to the extent possible plan for, more dredging and desilting of the creek, introduction of interventions such as phyto-remediation thru constructed wetlands, planting of bamboo and other plant species along the river banks, rip-rapping or coco-matting, construction, and greening of linear parks. Ayda Zoleta, PAO, DENR