By Genalyn Kabiling
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will be in charge of the rehabilitation of Pasig River even though the waterway is unlikely ever to be cleaned, President Duterte announced Tuesday night.
The President said he intends to abolish the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission and transfer its functions to the DENR led by Secretary Roy Cimatu.
“Maski ano. Pasig Bureau, Pasig department — department of Pasig. ‘Yang Pasig na ‘yan, hindi mo malinis ‘yan because wala naman tayong zoning [Regardless of the Pasig Bureau, Pasig department, Department of Pasig, you cannot clean Pasig River because we don’t have any zoning],” he said during the oath-taking of government appointees in Malacañang.
“Over the years, ang labasan ng mga factory, mga bahay, lahat, Pasig River. O how you can — you clean that? Kaya itong commission sa Pasig tanggalin ko na ito, place it under General Cimatu sa DENR [Over the years, Pasig River has become the sewer of factories, houses, all. How can you clean that? So I’ll remove the Pasig commission and place it under General Cimatu of the DENR],” he added.
Duterte admitted that it was “useless” to pay people when Pasig River cannot ever be cleaned.
Earlier, President Duterte issued Executive Order No. 90 transferring the PRRC chairmanship to the DENR from the Department of Budget and Management to ensure the efficient supervision on the rehabilitation of the major waterways.
The latest order amended Executive Order No. 54 issued in 1999 that created the inter-agency body to rehabilitate Pasig River to its historically pristine condition conducive to transport, recreation, and tourism.
“There is a need for close coordination and oversight of all ongoing efforts of the National Government relative to the clean-up and rehabilitation of major waterways in Metro Manila,” the new order read.
Last week, the President terminated the appointment of Jose Antonio Goitia as PRRC executive director amid corruption allegations. He claimed that Goitia was spreading word about his supposed imminent appointment to the Bureau of Customs as well as asking money from people dealing with the Pasig River commission.