By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has handed out the first-ever RIVERs for Life Award (Recognizing Individuals/Institutions Towards Vibrant and Enhanced Rivers) to the three cleanest rivers nationwide.
DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu said the award aims to raise public awareness on the need to protect and conserve the country’s rivers as the lifeblood of the earth.
“We aim to tap concerted action to protect the country’s rivers from degradation and pollution and ensure their suitability, sustainability, and further improvement,” Cimatu added.
Out of 16 river-nominees, the top prize for the RIVERs for Life Award went to Lamut River in Ifugao.
The second prize was given to Calbayog River in Samar, while the third place went to Manaba River in Bohol.
The winners received ₱100,000, ₱75,000, and ₱50,000, respectively.
According to Cimatu, the RIVERs for Life Award will contribute significantly to ensuring that the country’s rivers are kept clean.
“Rivers and creeks drain to bigger bodies of water and affect their condition. This is the case with Pasig River which drains to Manila Bay. Thus, ensuring the cleanliness of rivers is among our top priorities,” he added.
DENR Undersecretary for Field Operations Juan Miguel Cuna, also the Supervising Undersecretary for the DENR-Environmental Management Bureau, said the RIVERs for Life Award will be a continuing annual activity with winners recognized during the DENR anniversary.
“After we have awarded our very first batch of winners this year, I am sure our regional offices will work even harder to nominate their rivers to show how important our rivers are to us,” Cuna said.