DENR, San Miguel Corp. ink partnership to rehabilitate Tullahan River

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 4) — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and San Miguel Corporation (SMC) on Monday signed a deal to fund the project that aims to clean up one of the filthiest rivers in the country.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu and SMC President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon S. Ang signed the memorandum of agreement to rehabilitate the Tullahan-Tinajeros River System, one of the river systems that empties into the Manila Bay.

SMC pledged P1 billion for the dredging and clean up of the river, which starts at the La Mesa Dam in Quezon City. Ang said one of the reasons why SMC supported the river's rehabilitation is Cimatu's success in the massive rehabilitation of Boracay Island.

"Sabi ko sa kaniya, ba-budget-an ng San Miguel ng P1 billion to help clean up Tullahan. Two years, tapos po iyan, totally cleaned up po iyan basta susuportahan niyo," the business tycoon said in a media briefing.

He said the money will be used to purchase equipment for the clean up.

Cimatu, who dubbed Tullahan as "one of the worst rivers" in the country, thanked San Miguel Corporation for its help in rehabilitating Tullahan and Manila Bay.

"San Miguel accepted the challenge of undertaking this gigantic project. By working together, we hope to send a stronger message of how committed we are in securing a healthier future for rivers and creeks that empty into Manila Bay," the secretary said.

San Miguel Corporation is one of the 12 private corporations that promised to help the rehabilitation of the river.

Among the first steps of the rehabilitation is the removal of residential and commercial structures within the 3-meter no-build zone area, Cimatu said.

"They are building structures there inside sa river which is not allowed by law. Three meter bank of river kailangan walang structure," he said.

Environment officials said they also need to relocate 13,417 informal settler families, which either encroach on the river or are not connected to a sewerage system.

The DENR said rehabilitating Tullahan River wouldn't only contribute to cleaning Manila Bay, it will also prevent flooding, and may open opportunities for alternate route for transportation between Quezon City and Navotas.