January 25, 2018, 2:00p.m. | Amoranto Sports Complex, Quezon City
To the officials and staff of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission;
guests, partners, ladies and gentlemen;
Allow me, first of all, to congratulate the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission on your 19th Founding Anniversary.
As you know, this Commission was created through an Executive Order issued during the Estrada administration - an administration whose Cabinet I served. Not only that, the EO creating the Commission tasked the DBM Secretary, my post, with Chairmanship of the PRRC.
By some happy chance, I am here almost twenty years later to announce that the DBM, with the help of the PRRC and other relevant agencies, will once again take up the cause of rehabilitating the Pasig River through the Pasig River Ferry Service Convergence Program.
The Pasig River Ferry Service Convergence Program is an inter-agency effort composed of all agencies with programs and projects related to the rehabilitation of the Pasig River. Our main objective is to improve the Ferry Service, and, in the process, rehabilitate the Pasig River.
We find several opportunities in the Pasig River.
Given our traffic situation, air pollution along our roads and streets, and lack of connectivity among transport systems, we find huge potential in the Pasig River Ferry Service as an alternative mode of transportation for commuters, particularly those coming from the east side of the Metro to reach specific destinations within the cities of Manila, Mandaluyong, Pasig, Taguig, Marikina and Quezon City.
It can also serve as a vehicle for disaster response as a Ferry may be one of the few ways we can move people and goods during and after a major disaster.
Of course, we don’t want the River Ferry to just be functional, but we also want it to be a feature of Metro Manila whose beauty people can enjoy and take pride in. Expect to see sidewalks and linear parks along the river.
We want the Pasig River to be a central corridor for transport, recreation and leisure, environmental protection, climate change adaptation, and disaster risk reduction and response management in Metro Manila.
So we are adopting a more holistic approach in improving the Ferry Service. This is why we hired Julia Nebrija, an urban planner, to coordinate efforts on the part of the DBM. But that’s only one of her many assignments.
In its 19th year, the PRRC will face challenges unlike the ones they have experienced before. But I promise you that these challenges will be exciting. You will be put on the spotlight with the Convergence Program, a priority program of the Economic Development Cabinet Cluster. President Rodrigo Duterte himself identified this as a priority during his 2016 State of the Nation Address.
I am sure that with your new leadership, you will have the resilience and steadfastness to face the challenges you have ahead of you. I am excited for the work our Department will be doing with the Commission in the years to come.
Thank you, and, again, congratulations to all of you.