By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has forged a five-year partnership deal with the Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) to clean 20 dirtiest waterways or ‘esteros’ that drain into Pasig River and ultimately into Manila Bay.
A child looks on as a woman on a makeshift boat salvages garbage in Tondo, Manila. (Camille Ante / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)
Under DENR’s Adopt-an-Estero/Water Body program, the water bodies covered by the DENR-MPIC accord are Esteros de Vitas, San Lazaro, Kabulusan, Magdalena, Binondo, Dela Reina, Sampaloc, San Sebastian, San Miguel, Valencia, Uli-uli, Paco, Pandacan, Tanque, Balete, Provisor, Concordia, Sunog Apog, San Antonio Abad and Quiapo.
The partnership was sealed through a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu and MPIC president and CEO Jose Ma. Lim.
“Together, we will continue to clean every estero, assess their water quality and identify sources of pollution,” Cimatu said.
“We will take appropriate actions against establishments discharging untreated wastewater to prevent them from further poisoning these waterways,” he added.
For his part, Lim assured that the MPIC—through its subsidiary Maynilad Water Services Inc.—“remains fully committed to protecting the environment.”
“Upon acknowledging the objective of the DENR to promote stewardship among the private sector, MPIC is set to assist government agencies in improving the water quality parameters of the country’s water bodies,” Lim added.
Under the MOU, MPIC agreed not only to fund the rehabilitation and water quality assessment of the adopted esteros, but also spearhead the mobilization of neighboring schools and communities for the cleanup activities.
It also assured that Maynilad will fast-track the rehabilitation of its sewer lines, intensify the connection of domestic and non-domestic customers to the existing sewerage network, install collector pipes and easements, and conduct information and education campaigns related to proper wastewater treatment and disposal.
Meanwhile, DENR will provide MPIC with all the relevant data for the conduct of the water quality assessment study, issue the necessary permits and approvals to enable the MPIC and Maynilad to perform their responsibilities, and take appropriate action against violators within the adopted waterways.