Posted by: Sagip Pasig Movement | February 12, 2014

The Pasig River, once given up for dead, lives!



By Willy E. Arcilla | MANILA, 2/18/2011 — The Pasig River, once given up for dead, is back. Gone are the black and slimy, filthy and smelly waters. Now, the entire 25 km stretch flows with brownish-greenish currents without a nauseating stench. Even floating rubbish is minimal, although water lilies still abound. Best of all, hundreds of migratory birds, mostly seagulls, but even some egrets and herons can be seen feasting on its waters teeming with small fish, alongside scores of our menfolk using rod-and-reel; some even with nets, to catch palm-sized tilapia, dalag and bangus that the strong currents must have brought from upstream Laguna Lake.

I encourage everyone living in and around Metro Manila to ride the Pasig River Ferry (ferry terminal at Plaza Mexico in Intramuros to Nagpayong at the mouth of Laguna Lake) to witness and delight in the transformation of the Pasig River. A round-trip fare for the entire length of 25km will cost only P120 and take 3.5 hours back-and-forth meandering through parts of Manila, Mandaluyong, Makati, Taguig, Pasig and Pateros. Watch the birds and the fish, ride the currents and feel the breeze – all without car traffic.
I rode Ferry #2 piloted by a professional and courteous crew consisting of Capt. Melbor Baybay, Chief Engr. Tomas Sano and Deckhand Jose Magbanua. The ferry boats are air-conditioned and clean, safe and equipped with individual lifevests, with a TV set showing major channels and CD movies. Impressively, all six boats were made locally.
Congratulations and thank you very much to all the men and women involved in Pasig – the lead agency DENR, various national government agencies such as the DPWH, various branches of the armed services, the LGUs and NGOs, business groups and community organizations, including foreign funders from Denmark, Belgium and others.
The success of the rehabilitation efforts demonstrates what Filipinos can achieve if we all share a unity of purpose and show solidarity in action, imbibe personal discipline and embrace teamwork, persist and persevere even if it has taken nearly a whole generation. It is noteworthy this daunting undertaking was not an overnight success as it started way back with the establishment of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Program in 1989 followed by the creation of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission in 1999. It must have reached its tipping point under Hon Regina Lopez, culminating in the recent world-record setting footrace “10.10.10 last October 10th that attracted 116,000 participants (including my whole family), who all showed their love not just for a river, but for the environment, for present and future generations of Filipinos, and ultimately for God’s creation.
While the Pasig River has come a long way, I believe that the best is yet to come, and now that the Pasig river’s 25 km are back to life, here are 25 ideas to make it even grow.
Introduce a river cruise tour for day and nighttime offering dining and entertainment.
Put up a tourist destination at the end of the 1.5 hr ride in Nagpayong, e.g., offering travelers a taste of grilled “ihaw-ihaw” seafood and wholesome entertainment.
Put up a connecting boat tour to Laguna lake where tourists can enjoy a day cruise around one of the world’s largest inland freshwater lakes and buy local produce such as fruits and vegetables, dairy products and fish from farmers living around the lake, similar to the world-renowned “floating market” more than 100km west of Bangkok.
Manage and control the growth of water lilies which, while they may provide a good habitat for fish, may also clog channels and pose risks to boats navigating the river. I read that introducing ducks may be an option because they feed on water lilies.
Intensify efforts to clean up remaining portions, e.g., the relocation of squatters from under the Lambingan bridge, and dismantling of houses on stilts in Pasig and Pateros.
Install signs strictly prohibiting the throwing of any form of waste into the river.
Enforce the law using Pasig River Police meting out stiff penalties and imprisonment.
Complete the clean-up of all esteros and tributaries along the Pasig River.
Install distinctive trash bins in public areas for residents living along the river.
Ask San Juan LGU to clean up the San Juan River that empties waste into the Pasig.
Ensure adequate waste water treatment facilities are installed in all factories and plants situated along the riverbanks, as well as community sewage treatment. Monitor quality of waste water and effluents by regularly measuring bacterial count.
Continue to dredge and reinforce riverbanks with concrete retaining riverwalls.
Upgrade the rest of Pasig ferry terminals to be safe and inviting for more passengers.
Install signs warning people about the dangers of swimming in the river. The waters of Pasig may look deceptively calm but undercurrents are strong. Sadly there was a freshman high school student who drowned in the waters near the Lambingan Bridge.
Spruce up the 13 bridges spanning the Pasig River and put names on the bridges. Install signs to inform passengers of their location, e.g., “You are entering Makati”.
Continue to improve the riverbanks with colorful linear parks ala Marikina.
Plant more trees in Mandaluyong and Taguig, Pasig and Pateros following the example of Arroceros Forest Park and the Makati Park fronting University of Makati.
Introduce regular festive attractions such as fluvial parades to commemorate saints.
Introduce boat race competitions with the Manila Boat Club, e.g. rowing and sculling.
Build a boardwalk along the riverbanks for strolling, joggers and even a bicycle lane.
Install energy-efficient lights – even lighted billboard advertising along the river.
For low-income communities, replicate the RFM GK Village in Buayang Bato.
Ensure that the Calauan resettlement site provides sufficient sources of alternative livelihood and educational facilities for informal settlers who are relocated there to encourage them to stay, and even invite friends and relatives to relocate voluntarily.
Develop a comprehensive and long-term plan for the eventual relocation of the Pandacan and Sta. Ana oil depots that will be mutually beneficial to all stakeholders.
Partner with other agencies such as the Laguna Lake Development Authority and all the LGUs charged with the clean up of Manila Bay to share best practices and collaborate in rehabilitating the entire Laguna Bay-Pasig River-Manila Bay zone.
The lesson is clear. If we can bring back to life a dead Pasig river, the major artery of Metro Manila and sole lifeline from Laguna Lake to Manila Bay, we can do the same for our polluted oceans and waterways, our denuded forests and poisoned corals. And if we can revitalize the nation’s environment, we can revitalize the nation’s economy. But the Philippines, the sick man of Asia, can only truly recover, once we truly unite.
Posted by: Sagip Pasig Movement | February 12, 2014

17th Annual Pasig River Fluvial Parade

Uploaded on Mar 26, 2011
MTV Documentation of the 17th Annual Pasig River Fluvial Parade held last April 22, 2010 (Earth Day). The theme was “Dumaloy ka Ilog ng Kasaysayan.” The parade started at the Guadalupe ferry terminal ending at the Malacañang Garden Park. The annual parade is organized by the Sagip Pasig Movement.

Posted by: Sagip Pasig Movement | February 12, 2014

16th SPM Pasig River Annual Fluvial Parade

In celebration of Earth Day, the Sagip Pasig Movement (SPM) held its 16th Pasig River Fluvial Parade participated in by member communities along the Pasig River, NGO’s, Institutions, Corporate Partners and Local Government. The route for this year starts from the Guadalupe Ferry Station and ends at the Escolta Ferry Terminal. This year’s theme: Enforcement of Environmental Laws

Posted by: Sagip Pasig Movement | February 12, 2014

16th SPM Pasig River Annual Fluvial Parade

In celebration of Earth Day, the Sagip Pasig Movement (SPM) held its 16th Pasig River Fluvial Parade participated in by member communities along the Pasig River, NGO’s, Institutions, Corporate Partners and Local Government. The route for this year starts from the Guadalupe Ferry Station and ends at the Escolta Ferry Terminal. This year’s theme: Enforcement of Environmental Laws.

Posted by: Sagip Pasig Movement | February 12, 2014

The Toils and Triumphs of the Sagip Pasig Movement

ImageSaving the Pasig River
Manila Times
Sunday, 15 November 2009 00:00

The toils and triumphs of the Sagip Pasig Movement
By Perry Gil S. Mallari Reporter
Photos by Angelo Cantera

Save for a simple website, there is a dearth of publicity announcing the works of the Sagip Pasig Movement (SPM). The SPM is a nongovernment organization founded in 1993 through the efforts of then First Lady Ming Ramos and various NGOs committed to saving the Pasig River. It was formally incorporated in 1997. Despite setbacks it experienced through the years such as lawsuits and lack of funding, the SPM refused to give up the fight of saving and rehabilitating the historic Pasig River. Today, similar NGOs are benefiting from the pioneering works of the SPM foremost among them is the community-based river rehabilitation scheme. In an interview with the Sunday Times Magazine, SPM Executive Director Myrna Jimenez reveals the organization’s past struggles, accomplishments and future direction.

The poisoning of Pasig River

The Pasig River is now biologically dead. Decades of incessant dumping of both industrial and domestic waste along its length have killed it. Jimenez says that based on a scientific study conducted by the Danish International Development Assistance (DANIDA) in cooperation with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the waste that is continually being pumped into the Pasig River is divided into three categories; 45 percent is industrial pollution, another 45 percent is liquid domestic waste and the remaining 10 percent is solid waste. She pointed out that based on that study it was proven that it was not the communities along the riverbanks that were the main culprit in polluting the Pasig River.

Jimenez explains that inadequate sewerage facilities is the main reason why liquid domestic waste continues to find its way to the Pasig River. She estimated that around 20 percent of the liquid waste comes from communities situated on the riverbanks but the rest comes from various households of Metro Manila. Jimenez criticized the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) for its continuous failure to solve the sewerage problem in Metro Manila. “Since the 1940s, a sewerage fee is being collected from the public and yet their facilities are so inadequate,” she laments.

Jimenez believes that the greatest hindrance to saving the Pasig River is both the lack of political will of government officials and the availability of right resources. “All the dredging they are now doing is useless if nothing is being done about the urban poor communities situated along the river’s length,” she says.

Community-based waste management

Jimenez believes that the zenith of SPM’s achievements is its community-based waste management programs. “We’ve seen a lot of river rehabilitation programs through the years but many of them failed because they did not involved the communities,” she narrates, adding, “We pioneered community based waste management. We started the buy-back centers, which are now called “material recovery facilities.”
Jimenez attested that long before the Solid Waste Management Act was enacted, communities under the SPM were already segregating their waste into biodegradable and non-biodegradable categories.

Since 1998, the SPM has organized 205 barangays along the Pasig River System to initiate community based waste management projects. These are located in the cities of Manila, Quezon, Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasig and San Juan. In all, 32 Community Based Waste Management Programs (CBWMP) have been put in place consisting of: improvement of household garbage collection particularly in inaccessible areas, segregation of recyclables, setting-up of buy-back centers for the collection of the recyclables, rehabilitation of communal toilet facilities, and the installation of garbage traps in strategic areas of the river.

“We are currently designing ‘green jobs’ for these communities,” narrates Jimenez. Such “green jobs,” she explains entails workers to collect waste for recycling during the early part of the day and indulge in urban farming in the afternoon. Urban farming can be accomplished by growing plants in containers. “But we would want to make sure that the soil they will be using is not toxic so we will employ an urban agriculturist to attend into that,” Jimenez adds.

She emphasized the importance of trusting the capability and commitment of the communities to initiate positive change even if it would take some time.

Because of the community-based waste management programs of the SPM, Jimenez revealed that the solid waste being dumped into the Pasig River was now reduced by 50 percent.

Public disclosures

Another potent instrument of the SPM in initiating change is public disclosure via its annual Lason (poison) Awards, a mock award given to companies that pollutes the Pasig River. What is good about the SPM’s Lason Awards is that in the majority of cases, it turned former foes into partners. Jimenez named Jollibee and Coca Cola as former Lason awardees who are now SPM’s active partners in saving the Pasig River.
“Jollibee is now funding our participatory action research. That research will give us a very good insight regarding community-based waste management,” she says.

Jimenez said that the Danish government recently gave the SPM a grant to make a study of the impact of its Lason Awards, “The study concluded that it is among the most successful public disclosures schemes in Asia,” she says, adding “We are even cited in research materials published in Tokyo and Sweden.”

After the SPM put up a resource center for Philippine rivers, it decided to make the scope of its public disclosure national. “We are now giving a national Lason Award every two years called the Pasaway Award,” Jimenez narrates. She revealed that riverbank communities nominated a lot of mining companies across the country.

Forging partnerships

Besides forging new partnerships, Jimenez is grateful to all the institutions that helped the SPM particularly when it entered a serious slump in the late 1990s. A member sued the organization then for anomalous transaction and while the Commission on Audit eventually cleared the SPM after three years it had lost great momentum. “Former DENR Secretary Bebet Gordon came to our aid and gave us an office. It was also then that the SPM became the secretariat of the international Earth Day Network Philippines,” she recalls.

Since 2005, the SPM is in partnership with the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP). “The PUP gave us a building but we can’t still use it at the moment because of the squatter colonies around it,” Jimenez says. The SPM has grand plans for the facility. “I am meeting with Mayor Alfredo Lim and I’m going to ask if he can help us clear it up,” Jimenez narrates, continuing, “We can make a laboratory there for water quality testing.” She revealed that there’s even a serious plan to collaborate with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts to put up an eco-solution museum in the place. “We want to popularize technology and bring it to the hands of the people,” Jimenez emphasized.

The SPM now has 100 full scholars all attending the PUP. The scholarship program, Jimenez said, was funded by Shell Philippines. These scholars dubbed as “green scholars” would be harnessed for SPM’s ongoing and future environmental projects.

Reasons to live for

Jimenez has a clear answer to those doubting the value of saving a river that was long dead. She said that the Pasig River is the foremost indicator of an ecosystem in urban Metro Manila. “If the Pasig River isn’t saved, then the same fate also awaits the Manila Bay and Laguna de Bay,” Jimenez warns. She also said that failing to save the Pasig River connotes a national shame. Pertaining to the influx of people from the provinces to the cities resulting in the pollution of vital waterways she says, “The death of the Pasig River is an indicator of the failure of the government’s rural development program.”

Jimenez states that they are currently planning to work with experts from the Quezon City government to come up with a biodiversity urban template. Biodiversity is the sum total of the variety of life on earth. “If you saw a frog in the city, that’s a healthy indicator of biodiversity,” she attests.

Jimenez believes that good governance is vital in winning the battle to save the Pasig River. She admonishes the public to be really wise in choosing new leaders in the elections next year. “We have enough good laws in place, among them are the Clean Air Act and the Solid Waste Management Act. Just enforce them strictly and our environmental problems will be solved,” she explains.

She encourages the common Filipino to do their part in saving the Pasig River no matter how small. With a glint of hope in her eyes Jimenez concludes, “Just clean up your own backyard, that would go a long way.”

Posted by: Sagip Pasig Movement | August 21, 2013

Press Con for Barangay Election’s River Agenda

Press Con for Barangay Election's River Agenda

SPM’s Chair, Severino Galindo urged the electorate to strongly consider the river rehabilitation agenda in choosing candidates in the barangay election.

Copy of PR case study on LASON AWARD GOLDILOCKS PR Case study from a PR personnel POV by louvie eguia on 4 March 2013

Goldilocks Bakeshop, Inc. Goldilocks Bakeshop one of the number one leading bakery in the Philippines experienced a full-blown crisis at his hands when the Sagip Pasig Movement (SPM) cited the company as one of the top six polluters of the Pasig River during the Global Earth Day celebration last April 22, 1998

Posted by: Sagip Pasig Movement | August 21, 2013

Barangay Electoral Platform

Barangay Electoral Platform

Campaign to strongly consider the rehabilitation of the Pasig River and other water bodies in the election agenda as presented by SPM.

Posted by: Sagip Pasig Movement | August 21, 2013 Media to play crucial role in Pasig clean-up Media to play crucial role in Pasig clean-up

The new clean up project will have a two-pronged approach: consciousness raising and physical clean up projects.

To rehabilitate the river, Bantay Kalikasan together with all its partner agencies and organizations proposed a set of strategies which will control pollution at source.

The proposed clean-up includes cleaning up all the 47 tributaries that flow into the main river. In order to do this, Bantay Kalikasan plans to strengthen the Clean River Zones (CRZ) started by the Sagip Pasig Movement. These CRZs are composed of communities residing near the tributaries. The Clean River Zone vision is to have “zero toxic input to the Pasig River.”

Posted by: Sagip Pasig Movement | August 21, 2013

SAVING PASIG – Ming Ramos’ Sagip Pasig Movement

SAVING PASIG – Ming Ramos’ Sagip Pasig Movement

Manila, Philippines – One of the most recognized non-government organizations dedicated to rehabilitating Pasig River was the Sagip Pasig Movement (SPM), which then-First Lady Amelita “Ming” Ramos initiated in 1993.

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