The planned Pasig River Expressway (PAREX) project will not impact heritage sites in Manila, San Miguel Corporation president Ramon S. Ang said.
Ang said the PAREX project takes into full consideration the presence of historical sites along its alignment–even as he cautioned against the misinformation being spread to undermine the many benefits of the project to the greater number of Filipinos, even this early in its development.
According to the executive, among “the lies and miconceptions being spread about the project is that it will impact heritage sites, such as Intramuros.”
“We’re a free country, and we respect everyone’s right to voice their opposition. In fact, after setting the record straight on some issues, we’ve largely let the critics do all the talking. We listen to valid opinions and points, but we just can’t let outright lies pass,” Ang said.
An illustration of the supposed alignment of PAREX showed that it runs alongside Intramuros and historical sites was spread in social media. The image was said to have come from PAREX as presented to media.
“False. The image did not come from us. For the record, per the basic alignment developed in consultation with, and approved by the government, PAREX will not run on the Intramuros side, but on the other side, along Binondo,” Ang said.
“By placing the alignment on the other side, we can avoid any significant impact on Intramuros, and actually use the PAREX to showcase our heritage sites to users, including tourists. The area will also become more accessible to more Filipinos, via the planned Bus Rapid Transit system,” said Ang.
He added: “Also, PAREX will be developed as a hybrid infrastructure: It will not just be for vehicles, but also for pedestrians, joggers, and bicycle users. More Filipinos can come and enjoy Intramuros. And with our P2-billion Pasig River clean-up initiative, the river here can be utilized for water transport and tourism, and not just as a docking area for barges.”
Ang added that even today, long-existing issues continue to impact heritage sites in the walled city, including the presence of informal settlers, a golf driving range, barges, and rows of warehouses,
condominiums and informal settlers serving as views, along with the polluted river, from Fort Santiago.
Ang reiterated that all valid concerns raised against the project are being taken into consideration.
Ang cited as an example another area critics are concerned about, which is the Arroceros Forest Park. In the current basic alignment, the section of the PAREX runs alongside the area. However, this can easily be remedied, via multiple engineering options. This includes raising or lowering the expressway, or moving it all together.