Duterte eyes abolition of Pasig River rehab commission

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday, September 18, revealed his plan to abolish the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) as he admitted that it was likely impossible to revive the dead river's once pristine condition.

In a speech delivered at Malacañang, the President alluded to the possible transfer of the PRRC's functions to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) led by Secretary Roy Cimatu.

"Ang Pasig ngayon, sabi Pasig commission. Maski ano, Pasig bureau, Pasig department, Department of Pasig, 'yang Pasig, hindi mo malinis 'yan because wala naman tayong zoning," Duterte said before the new presidential appointees.

(The Pasig commision is tasked to rehabilitate the Pasig river. But regardless of the creation of a Pasig bureau, Pasig department, or Department fo Pasig, you cannot clean Pasig River because we don't have any zoning policy.)

"Over the years, and labasan ng mga factory, mga bahay, lahat, Pasig River. O how can you clean that? Kaya itong commission sa Pasig, tanggalin ko na ito. Place it under Cimatu sa DENR. Environment na," he added.

(Over the years, Pasig River has become the sewer of factories, houses, and everything. How can you clean that? So I'll dissolve the Pasig commission and place it under the DENR led by Cimatu.)

Duterte issued the latest pronouncement more than a week after he fired PRRC executive director Jose Antonio Goitia for supposed involvement in corrupt activities.

It also came over three weeks after the President signed Executive Order (EO) 90, which transfers the co-chairmanship of PRRC to the DENR from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

EO 90 retains the Metro Manila Development Authority as co-chair of the commission.

The PRRC, created in January 1999 by virtue of EO 54, is an inter-agency body tasked to ensure that the Pasig River is rehabilitated to its historically pristine condition conducive for the propagation of fishes and other aquatic resources, transport, recreation and tourism.

The President, in his latest speech, said it would be "useless" to pay PRRC personnel since there seemed to be no chance to revive the polluted river.

"Just paying people [is] useless. Hindi mo malinis talaga 'yan (You cannot really restore that river)," he said. (SunStar Philippines)


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