PAREX would bring more heat, more flooding in NCR, various groups warn

Published September 29, 2021, 1:27 PM

by Joseph Pedrajas

The Pasig River Expressway or PAREX may not help the environment at all as groups opposing its construction asserted on Wednesday, Sept. 29, that it will only worsen the urban heat in the National Capital Region (NCR).

This is because PAREX, once constructed, would absorb more sunlight and eventually contribute to heat index in Metro Manila, according to RJ Mallari of Greenpeace Philippines.

PAREX’s construction will also affect the flow of the waters of the Pasig River that can contribute to an already severe flooding being experienced in the NCR.

“The climate resilience is about making the community increasing their adaptive capacity. So anong gagawin natin sa komunidad. hahayaan natin malubog o gagawa tayo ng paraan?” Mallari said in an online press briefing.

Mallari’s group was only among the 1,600 individuals and organizations that signed a petition to stop the proposed PAREX. Other groups include Move As One Coalition, AltMobility PH, Renacimiento Manila and Youth Strike 4 Climate Philippines, among others.

In their petition, they said PAREX is a “death sentence” for the Pasig River as it “will hamper the river’s role in controlling floods, ensuring water security and urban biodiversity, and reducing the Urban Heat Island effect.”

“Inducing car travel above the Pasig River will increase non-exhaust emissions like microplastics from car tires, road dust, and particulate matter that will pollute our rivers, streams, and oceans,” they said.

The groups said they are “not against” the construction of expressways, but are against the construction of the “big expressway on top of the Pasig River.”

On Sep. 24, the San Miguel Corporation already broke ground for the proposed 19.37-kilometer PAREX, several days after it secured the government’s approval.

“We were really surprised and disappointed to know that the project was already approved, although it does not even have any environmental clearance from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources yet,” former Finance Usec. Sunny Sevilla, who is now also a member of Move As One Coalition, said in Filipino.

“If any part of the Pasig River is covered, it will not be good. So if they’re just concerned about the transportation in constructing PAREX, there are other projects that are more helpful for the environment and for the public,” he added.