Hopes pinned on 2,000 'estero rangers'

ENVIRONMENT Secretary Roy Cimatu believes that to clean the urban waterways that have been contributing to the pollution of vital tributaries leading up to the Manila Bay, the local government units within and near Manila would need around 2,000 personnel to clean canals and help with garbage disposals in the areas.

The 2,000 personnel who will be dubbed as "estero rangers" will help local government units with waste disposal and improve garbage collection within their respective jurisdictions. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) had given the green light for the hiring of the rangers who will complement the efforts of senior officials of the department.

Cimatu had also dubbed the officials as "river commanders" to oversee rehabilitation activities.

"We would like to impress upon the public that we really need to overhaul the disposal system in Metro Manila, make it efficient and for the public to stop dumping trash into our waterways," Cimatu, head of the inter-agency Manila Bay Task Force, said in a statement sent to SunStar Pampanga.

The DENR chief said two estero rangers will be initially deployed to 711 barangays where there are alleys traversed by esteros and not reached by garbage trucks. These alleys are mostly populated by informal settler families.

Cimatu said he already gave a directive to look into the possibility of increasing the number of estero rangers to at least 2,000, so that four may be deployed to each barangay.

The estero rangers are endorsed by their barangay officials in coordination with the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

Under the contract, an estero ranger gets a monthly salary of P8,500 for a five-day work week schedule. He or she is tasked to conduct removal of garbage from esteros fitted with trash traps and house-to-house garbage collection in selected alleys for transfer and storage at pickup points accessible to garbage trucks.

The estero rangers will be commissioned on November 15 at the DENR central office grounds in Quezon City.

At least 203 creeks and waterways traversing the 711 barangays will be serviced by the estero rangers.


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