By Mortz C. Ortigoza
DAGUPAN CITY – The director of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) encouraged Dagupenos to beautify the esteros and river system here by recovering the easement on the banks from the public’s encroachment.
Director Ramil Tan, invited recently here by this City's mayor, said this endeavor to return three to twenty meters width of pathways of the estero’s banks to the public was not a walk in the park.
Estero is a drainage canal in populated districts.
“Actually, wala pong particular na timeline kasi po gaya ng ginagawa ng PRRC pag sinabi po natin easement recovery for instance involving informal settlement, of course it is a convergent effort of the NHA, for the housing program. It is the convergence of the DILG, even the local government depending on how far, they can allocate housing provision to the PRRC then we can do a social preparation, it can take six months' he stressed.
He cited that from demolition of the properties of the informal settlers to the relocation in other place, the tedious process takes up to one year.
He said they were able to clean up and spruce up the banks of the once 14 polluted esteros in the Metro Manila Areas.
“Hinde lahat ng barangay cooperative, nakikita niyo si kapitan “Alis Estero Program, si kapitan at kagawad may “Balik Estero Program”. Dumating iyong pinsan, naglagay ng lona. Mamaya iyong lona tatayo na ang hollowblock may sariling buhay ang hollow block. Pag may hollow blocks na hindi na puweding i pa stop. Nakabantay ang Commission on Human Rights, nakabantay ang Presidential Commission on Urban Poor. Kaya naging resolution namin kakasuhan namin ang Sangguniang Barangay and si kapitan na nananguna sa pag sasaluha”.
Tan said because of his and Gina Lopez (former Chair of PRRC) effort in ejecting and relocating the squatters to the relocation sites in other parts of Manila and the provinces of Cavite, Bulacan, and others they were able to in regain the former beauty and glory of esteros like the Estero de Sampaloc, Estero de Valencia, Estero de San Miguel, Estero de Uli Uli, Estero de Concordia, Estero de Pandacan, Ermitanyo Creek, Maytunas Creek, Estero de Binondo, and Estero de Paco.
He said restructuring of the ruined canal systems in and out of Manila could even be funded by the organizations and expatriates who earned sympathy for their plight.
“Our trips abroad were even free, those who invited us paid the tab for the plane and hotel accommodation,” he said at the V.I.P Room of the Stadia here.
Mayor Belen T. Fernandez lauded the endeavor of Tan and the PRRC. She cited there were programs in this burgeoning city that the coffer did not allocate any cent for their completion.
“ Iyong livelihood natin is coming from the Department of Agriculture, of course ang ating tourism aspect we have our island tours coming from the private sectors ay nagdodonate, then iyong river clean natin like the dredging is ang DPWH. Other projects, I think kaya natin gawin iyon”.