Diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. said Wednesday it doubled to P2 billion its committed budget for the five-year clean-up and rehabilitation of Pasig River.
The project, which is set to become the largest river rehabilitation project in the country, was officially launched Tuesday.
“There have been many cleanup efforts in the past, and government has successfully implemented a number of programs these past few years. But decades of pollution and compounding problems that have rendered the river biologically dead since the 1990s are too significant and complex to overcome–even for the best-intentioned advocates and organizations,” San Miguel president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang said.
“We hope that with the resources and technical know-how that we are bringing into the effort today—along with the continued support of our national government agencies and local government units–we can all make a bigger difference,” he said.
The company is targeting to remove some 50,000 metric tons of waste from Pasig River each month, or 600,000 metric tons of waste a year, using advanced and specialized equipment, which the company already acquired.
Ang said cleaning Pasig River would bear historical significance for San Miguel. In 1890, La Fabrica de Cerveza de San Miguel was established along the banks of Pasig River on Malacanang Street in the San Miguel district of Manila. The original site is now part of Malacanang Palace grounds.
Those who attended the simple launching ceremony were Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Benhur Abalos, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, Mandaluyong Mayor Menchie Abalos, Interior Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III, Public Works Assistant Secretary Antonio Mulano and Philippine Coast Guard Station Commander for Pasig Crisanto Anas.
The Pasig River project is San Miguel’s second major river rehabilitation initiative. Its ongoing P1-billion cleanup of the 27-kilometer Tullahan-Tinajeros River, launched last year, supports the rehabilitation of the Manila Bay.
Aside from the Tullahan and Pasig River cleanups, San Miguel plans to undertake a river channel improvement program for tributaries belonging to Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando River System as part of flood mitigation program in Bulacan province, the site of the New Manila International Airport.