By Ellalyn de Vera-Ruiz
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has partnered with the Aboitiz Group for the rehabilitation of the San Juan River, one of Metro Manila’s main river systems and a major tributary of Pasig River.
San Juan River, which runs from Quezon City to the cities of San Juan, Mandaluyong and Manila, is considered as one of the most polluted waterways in the metropolis.
DENR, represented by Secretary Roy Cimatu, has signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. (AEVI) and the Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (AFI) for the development and implementation of the San Juan River Rehabilitation Plan.
The MOA aims to lower the pollution levels in San Juan River, which drains into the Manila Bay, through dredging and cleanup activities.
Aside from Cimatu, other signatories to the MOA are AEVI president and CEO Erramon Aboitiz and AFI trustee Sabin Aboitiz.
Last year, DENR also entered into an agreement with the Aboitiz group for the rehabilitation and development of the one-hectare Wetland 4 in Boracay, transforming it into a linear urban park for a period of three years.
The rehabilitation of the 11-kilometer San Juan River will run for three years and will be renewable for another year. It will be implemented by AFI, the social development arm of the Aboitiz Group.
The plan would have at least three components: social preparation and mobilization involving concerned local government units; dredging and cleanup; and regular water quality monitoring activities on selected points of the river identified by the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau.
Under the agreement, AEVI pledged to fund the rehabilitation and cleanup of the river and provide the equipment and materials needed for the undertaking.