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San Miguel pledges P1B for Tullahan River cleanup

San Miguel Corp. (SMC) has pledged P1 billion for the cleanup of the Tullahan River system as part of the Manila Bay rehabilitation efforts.

In a statement on Monday, SMC said it inked a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to implement a comprehensive dredging and cleanup of the 59.24-kilometer tributary.

The Tullahan River starts from the La Mesa Reservoir and traverses the cities of Valenzuela and Malabon, before reaching the mouth of Manila Bay through Navotas City.

"Yes, SMC will support DENR," SMC President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon Ang said in a text message.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu last month said Ang and businessman Lucio Tan were interested in cleaning up and rehabilitating major rivers in Metro Manila.

President Rodrigo Duterte has created an inter-agency task force aimed to ensure the implementation of the rehabilitation program for the polluted Manila Bay.

"The cleanup of the Tullahan River, like other river systems going out to Manila Bay, is crucial to bringing back the glory of the Manila Bay," said Ang.

"We are proud to partner with the DENR on this project. In the last couple of months, we have seen what can be done when our government has both political will and a clear understanding of what can be done to make a difference," he elaborated.

Under the MOA, SMC will be in charge of the implementation of a dredging and cleanup plan provided by the DENR to reduce solid wastes and floating debris.

It will also lend equipment, manpower, and funding for equipment operations, and assist in the community mobilization activities of the DENR.

SMC will also be tasked to install a trash trap, transfer dredged materials, and install signages in relation to the rehabilitation program.

"Despite our best efforts to make the Tullahan a living, vital waterway, and even as we have managed to lessen the flooding during the rainy season by removing silt and garbage, the problem is too big," Ang said, noting that the cleanup must be a collaborative effort between the government and the private sector. —Jon Viktor D. Cabuenas/KBK, GMA News