By Freddie C. Velez
City of Malolos, Bulacan — Senators Cynthia Villar and Sherwin Gatchalian have committed to render assistance to the rehabilitation of the Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando River System (MMORS) which was once identified by Blacksmith Institute as among the severely polluted rivers in the world.
This was the result of Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Governor Daniel R. Fernando’s urgent call to have a dialogue with the concerned local government units and other stakeholders to revive the river system.
Alvarado further said that the plan should really be translated into action and called for the confirmation of commitment from public officials, concerned government agencies and private groups who attended the said meeting.
“This is a cluster of an ecosystem, hindi pwedeng isa lang ang kikilos, collective efforts ito. Ang kailangan ay pagmamalasakitan, walang turuan, walang sisihan at ako’y naniniwalang maisasalba natin ang kailugang ito,” the governor said.
Livelihood opportunities and the Las Piñas model
Meanwhile, Senator Villar volunteered to help in the said rehabilitation by educating the stakeholders about converting the wastes in the rivers to become livelihood for the people.
“In Las Piñas, I spent 15 years of my life cleaning the river kasi tinanggap ko na sa sarili ko noon na ako na ‘yon, hindi ko na sisisihin ang iba na kasi ‘yung dumi nila sa akin napupunta. Magsimula tayong gumawa ng livelihood projects out of waste, tutulungan namin kayo, ng Department of Agriculture, ng DPWH,” the lady senator said.
She added that water lilies can be weaved, coconut husks can be used for slope protection instead of cement, the piths can be turned to charcoals, biodegradable wastes can be fertilizers and plastics can be made into school chairs.
“Kapag nakikita ng mga tao na may makukuha sila sa pag-iipon ng mga basura na ‘to, kahit sila hindi na magtatapon, kukunin na nila ‘yon at pagkakakitaan. Sa amin, ang isang tao kumikita ng R13,000 sa isang bwan, binabayaran sila depende sa dami ng nagagawa nila galing sa water lily,” Villar added.
On the other hand, Senator Gatchalian said that intervention is necessary to solve the problem and he is committed to help the project until the end.
“The sooner we receive the resolution, the better. Isa itong sistema and we need holistic approach. Kahit mag-invest tayo ng R1 billion for dredging, baka after two years lang balik na naman tayo sa original na problema. We need permanent administration and strict enforcement, ma-sanction ang mga hindi umaaksyon,” Gatchalian said.