Pasig river rehab body scuttled

November 14, 2019
Pasig River

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has abolished the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC), according to a document released by Malacañang yesterday.

Signed on November 8, Executive Order 93 directed the “disestablishment” of the PRRC and transfer of the body’s tasks to other agencies.

“[T]here is a need to consolidate ongoing rehabilitation efforts in all river systems and tributaries within the Manila Bay Region and streamline rehabilitation functions by transferring them to agencies with relevant core mandates,” the order stated.

Under the EO, the Manila Bay Task Force will now be in charge of the overall implementation of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Master Plan, which aims to harness the river’s potential for transportation, recreation and tourism purposes while undertaking the rehabilitation and restoration of its marine life.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is tasked to ensure the enforcement of easements provided for in the Civil Code and other relevant laws, especially in estuaries and waterways that drain into the Pasig River, as well as abate the dumping of untreated industrial wastewater and sewerage into the river.

Duterte also ordered the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development to expedite the relocation of informal settlers and other unauthorized occupants along the banks of the Pasig River.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and the Department of Public Works and Highways were ordered to ensure the dismantling and removal of all structures, constructions, and other encroachments established or built along Pasig River which are in violation of the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992 (Republic Act 7279).

Within 60 days from the effectivity of the EO, the Department of Budget and Management, in consultation with the DENR and MMDA, should supervise the winding up of the operations of the PRRC and the final disposition or transfer of its functions, obligations, assets and liabilities as well as the separation or transfer of its personnel.

The PRRC was created in 1999 by then-President Joseph Estrada through an executive order. The inter-agency body was established to ensure that the waterway was restored to its historically pristine condition, and was conducive to transport, recreation, and tourism.

Duterte had floated the possibility of abolishing the PRRC in September when he said the river was “uncleanable” and sacked the agency’s former head, Jose Antonio Goitia, due to allegations of corruption.