ABS-CBN Foundation managing director Gina Lopez at Estero de San MiguelFollowing the significant changes on the surroundings and the lifestyle of residents along the esteros revived by Kapit Bisig Para sa Ilog Pasig (KBPIP), the campaign for the rehabilitation of Pasig River is set for an aggressive push to spur local government units in cleaning their own esteros.
This year, KBPIP is focused on the waterways in Quezon City, which empties most of its trash into the San Juan River. The San Juan River, meanwhile, contributes over 40% of the filth that flows into the Pasig River.
“If we clean San Juan River, we’ll clean half of the Pasig River. If we have to clean San Juan River, we have to clean Quezon City,” said Gina Lopez, managing director of ABS-CBN Foundation Inc. that operates KBPIP.
KBPIP patterns much of its rehabilitation efforts after Estero de Paco in Manila.
The vicinity didn’t suffer from flooding during the onslaught of rains brought by the monsoon winds in August because water could flow easily. Also, based on the barangay blotter, a 40% reduction in crime incidence was recorded in seven out of 16 barangays near the estero. According to the City of Manila, the value of land near Estero de Paco has also gone up and might benefit the landowner of up to P2 million in 20 years.
A survey sponsored by KBPIP of 7,000 households living within 200 meters from Estero de Paco revealed that 100% are getting more exercise, 97% have a greater sense of community pride, 97% are satisfied with their lives, 89% feel less sick and 89% feel safer in their community. Eighty-five percent of them also claimed they have lower medical expenses due to their cleaner and healthier environment.
“Cleaning the esteros reaches far beyond the economic effect. It goes into the very way they feel about themselves, the way they feel about each other,” Lopez stressed. “The Quezon City experience is really important because it sets the template for other cities. Unless local government units take on the cleaning of the esteros, it’s not going to happen.”