The rehabilitation of Pasig River

Published by rudy Date posted on April 19, 2009

Writers, poets, musicians and even the man destiny declared to be national hero fell for the muse named Pasig. A century later, men still stumbled upon each other for her charms—but this time, to reclaim the beauty she has lost.

“Pasig River is a story of a once beautiful woman whose beauty fades day by day,” says Joseph Ang, Worldbex founding chairman. “And the most tragic thing about it? No one dared to look at her and acknowledge the mockery she has become.”

But there’s hope yet for the muse named Pasig through an initiative called Kapit Bisig sa Ilog Pasig, a project that aims to rehabilitate the moribund 17-kilometer river system. It top-bills a partnership between the ABS-CBN Foundation Inc.-Bantay Kalikasan, the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC), local governments and the private sector. Among the strongest supporters of Kapit Bisig sa Ilog Pasig is Worldbex Services International.

“It’s a tall order but one can always look to the experience of the Seine, Thames, Hudson and Danube waterways,” says Ang. He notes how these also went through a long and tedious process of resuscitation before becoming the “grand rivers” they are today. “I’m very confident that there’s hope for the Pasig River yet.”

In support of the Kapit Bisig sa Ilog Pasig initiative, Worldbex Services International, donated a substantial amount to the ABS-CBN Foundation Inc.-Bantay Kalikasan project. Meanwhile, Architect Felino Palafox Jr., of the Pasig Rehabilitation Commission discussed the milestones of the said project in the Worldbex seminars at the Philippine Trade Training Center.

“Rehabilitating the Pasig River needs nothing short of a transformation of values,” asserts Palafox. “It entails a paradigm shift from the poor treatment of a precious resource to its elevation into something that’s a source of national pride.”

Palafox Associates was tasked by the PRRC to draw up an updated and integrated Pasig River Rehabilitation Masterplan. Palafox has since proposed subdividing the Pasig into four general areas: Heritage Zone, Transition Zone, Central Business District Zone and the Agro-Tourism Zone.

“What we’re proposing is literally a change of perspective,” says Palafox. He notes that their Masterplan calls for a conversion of what was once “back-of-house” to the “front-doors” of development. “What was once space for generator sets, laundry, storage and waste can be transformed into a promenade that everyone can enjoy.”

They also envision the implementation of a 10-meter easement to pave the way for the execution of its projects. The plan has identified vacant lots and blighted areas which, when cleared, are prime sites for urban renewal projects. There will also be 10 parks along the 27-kilometer stretch of the Pasig, four more bridges, a ferry system and parallel modes of transportation.

“Pasig River restored, no, elevated to what Palafox Associates and Kapit Bisig sa Ilog Pasig initiative envision it to become is a sight to see,” said Worldbex founding chairman, “And with the success of this project, comes the fruition of the Worldbex thrust to come up with resolutions and solutions to build in the most sustainable way possible.”

For details, call 534-3615, 531-6350, e-mail info@worldbex.com or visit www.worldbex.com. –Manila Times

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