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Marcos: Pasig River rehabilitation to be people-centered, community-driven

President Ferdinand ''Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Wednesday vowed that the rehabilitation of the Pasig River would be people-centered and community-driven, as he tasked the relocation of informal settlers along the riverbank. 

Marcos and First Lady Louise ''Liza'' Araneta-Marcos led the inauguration of the showcase area of the Pasig River urban development project in the City of Manila.

''Make no mistake about it. It will be a people-centered and community-driven development with ideas crowdsourced from experts and carried out with political will. We may never restore the river back to its pre-colonial pristine condition, but we can revive it to serve the present while preserving it for the future,'' Marcos said in his speech.

Marcos then directed the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) to ensure that the informal settlers would be properly relocated.

''Gagawin natin ito sapagkat tama lang na kung sino ang malapit sa ilog, ang siyang unang dapat mabibiyayaan,'' he added. 

(We're going to do this because the people who live closest to the river deserve to get the benefits of the project first.)

According to Marcos, the transformation that he would like to see in the Pasig River is ''not cosmetic in nature.''

''We do not want a river that is instantly made picturesque by coats of paint. We want a river whose transformation sinks to its very bottom,'' Marcos said. 

''This begins by cleaning up the river, and some solutions are found upstream because wastes disposed of far from the Pasig River end up in the Pasig River, funneled through waterways that have become sewers,'' he added. 

Marcos said he would strictly monitor the progress of the project as he tasked concerned agencies to submit quarterly and yearly reports about the rehabilitation.

Last year, Marcos formed the Inter-Agency Council for the Pasig River Urban Development as part of the government’s response to the urgent need to rehabilitate and enhance the quality of life along the Pasig River.

The showcase area, spanning almost 500 meters behind the Manila Central Post Office building, is part of the initial phase of the multi-agency urban renewal project spearheaded by the Inter-Agency Council for the Pasig River Urban Development (IAC-PRUD), chaired by DHSUD Secretary Jose Rizalino Azucar.

Dubbed the "Pasig Bigyan Buhay Muli" (PBBM), the project aims to transform the Pasig River into a center of economic activity, tourism, and transportation connectivity in Metro Manila and adjacent provinces.

The showcase area will serve as a public park consisting of a pedestrian-friendly walkway on a concrete platform, which will be equipped with a water fountain accented by lighting and sitting areas that can serve as an open-air venue for events.— VBL, GMA Integrated News