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In photo are (from left) DENR Sec. Roy Cimatu, Manila Water CEO and President Jose Rene Almendras, Antipolo City Mayor Andrea Ynares, and Manila Water COO Abelardo Basilio, after signing the usufruct agreement.

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San Juan River

DENR pushes San Juan River rehabilitation

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The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has agreed to prioritize the rehabilitation of San Juan River.

Environnment Secretary Roy Cimatu made the commitment during the hearing of the Senate finance subcommittee on the DENR’s P25.5-billion proposed 2020 budget as well as that of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC), on Friday, September 27.

Senators were tackling the PRRC’s P261.2-million proposed 2020 budget when Sen. Francis Tolentino said that the government will not be able to rehabilitate the Pasig River without cleaning also San Juan River.

He claimed that almost 70 percent of the pollutants in Pasig River flowed from the San Juan River.

“So I’m wondering why there’s no parallel priority being given to San Juan River. Dapat sabay ‘yon (That should be done at the same time). Clean up kayo pero hindi lang [dapat] ‘yong Pasig River…kasi pupunta ulit yong dumi sa Pasig River (You should cleaning up not only the Pasig River because pollutant will continue to go back)” Tolentino said.

Responding to the senators, Cimatu said the San Juan River is already part of the DENR’s “initial plans” for clean-up and rehabilitation.

He said he recently conducted an ocular visit and found it really dirty.

“Nakita namin agad. Maamoy na, madumi pa (We immediately find it smelly and filthy)” he said.

“Because of that your honors, I’ve decided to make this as a priority already, the San Juan [River],” Cimatu added.

Cimatu reported that the DENR has already partnered with Aboitiz Group for the San Juan River clean up.

The private firm will be in charge of dredging garbage that has accumulated over the years.

DENR, meanwhile, will take care of easement issues.

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