President Rodrigo Duterte was true to his word he would abolish the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission as Malacañang on Thursday released an executive order scrapping the government body and transferring its functions to other agencies.
Signed on Nov. 8, Executive Order 93 says the disestablishment of the PRRC which would take effect immediately, citing the need to “consolidate” the continuing rehabilitation efforts in all river systems and tributaries within Manila Bay.
President Duterte bared his plan to dismantle the commission last month, adding the Pasig River “is already clean.”
“If the Congress is listening, congressmen, abolish it. There is nothing to clean in the Pasig River. It is already clean,” Duterte said in a speech.
The new order came two months after he fired PRRC executive director Jose Antonio Goitia over his alleged involvement in corrupt activities.
Formed in 1999 by former President Joseph Estrada, the PRRC is primarily tasked to implement programs and projects aimed at reviving the polluted Pasig River connected to the Laguna de Bay and Manila Bay.
EO 93 transferred the PRRC’s functions to the Manila Bay Task Force, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development, the Metro Manila Development Authority and the Department of Public Works and Highways.
The Manila Bay Task Force is tasked to “update and take the lead” in the overall implementation of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Master Plan, which aims to harness the water’s potential for transportation, recreation and tourism purposes.
Under the EO, the DENR is mandated to stop the dumping of untreated industrial wastewater and sewerage into the river.
Meanwhile, the DHSUD is designated to lead the relocation of squatters and other unauthorized occupants along the banks of the Pasig River.
The MMDA and Public Works, consistent with their respective mandates, are directed to ensure the dismantling and removal of all structures and other encroachments established or built along the Pasig River.