PAGCOR markerPAGCOR and ABS-CBN Foundation representatives join hands during the inauguration of the PAGCOR marker. (L-R) Kapit Bisig para sa Ilog Pasig Project Director Grace Sumalpong, PAGCOR Senior Executive Liaison Officer Ramon Stephen Villaflor, PAGCOR President and COO Jorge Sarmiento, PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Cristino Naguiat, Jr., AVP for PAGCOR Community Relations Henry Reyes, AVP for PAGCOR Corporate Communications Maricar Bautista, and ABS-CBN Foundation Managing Director Gina Lopez. (Photo by Faizza Tanggol)
Following the completion of the rehabilitation of Estero de Paco, a marker has been inaugurated in the estero headwater that symbolizes the support that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) extended to ABS-CBN Foundation’s Kapit Bisig para sa Ilog Pasig (KBPIP) to make the rehab a reality. PAGCOR, as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) project, donated a total of twenty million pesos to KBPIP back in November 2010—ten million pesos of which went to direct estero expenses such as easement development and the remaining ten million pesos of which went to the redevelopment of Paco Market, a century-old public market that used to be a major contributor of waste to Estero de Paco.
PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Cristino Naguiat, Jr., PAGCOR President and COO Jorge Sarmiento, and ABS-CBN Foundation Managing Director Gina Lopez inaugurated the PAGCOR marker at the Estero de Paco headwater and proceeded to tour the estero and Paco Market to see the transformation that was made possible by PAGCOR’s donation.
Lopez has reported that since the rehab, there was no flooding in Estero de Paco during the onslaught of Habagat, there’s an increase in the overall feeling of health and well-being in the residents, as well as a 40% drop in crime rate in the area. The heads of PAGCOR said they were impressed with the difference in Estero de Paco.
“Iyong resulta nandiyan kaagad. And hindi lang yung resulta, iyong mga tao na nadaanan namin ay happy sila, iyong estero na dinaanan namin malinis na, and then iyong plants, really, green is everywhere,” said Sarmiento.
“Ang dami pa po nating ilog na dapat maging ganito,” said Naguiat.
PAGCOR is reportedly the third highest revenue generating contributor to the government coffers. “But we would like to believe that we are one, if not the biggest, CSR na government owned and controlled corporation. So we are looking for advocacies na magaganda,” explained Sarmiento. Education, tourism infrastructure, and recently, the environment, are some of the advocacies that PAGCOR has supported.
“Sa lahat ng mga bansa, ang river po, ito ay napakalaking importansya sa ating pag-unlad. Kung hindi ho maganda ang ilog, hindi ho tayo masyadong uunlad ng ganoon kaganda,” said Naguiat. “Well, two years ago, we entered a MOA (memorandum of agreement) with ABS-CBN Foundation. We've donated twenty million para dito sa proyektong ito. Ako po'y nagpapasalamat sa ABS-CBN Foundation na naging bahagi po kami nitong proyektong ito.”
Lopez, meanwhile, is happy that PAGCOR agreed to help in the estero rehab and was able to extend support in such a short span of time. “I have nothing but praises for the current PAGCOR administration. They are good people, they love the country and they have agreed to support really noble projects. I have a hundred percent applause for them,” said Lopez.
The river rehabilitation project is a joint effort of ABS-CBN Foundation and the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission, of which Lopez is also the Chairperson. They also work with other government agencies like Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Department of Public Works and Highways, National Housing Authority, the two water companies Manila Water and Maynilad, and donors from private corporations.