President Rodrigo Duterte’s latest claim that “there’s nothing to clean" in Pasig River is wrong. He also contradicted himself, saying as late as mid-September that Pasig River is “impossible to clean.”
Duterte said at the Oct. 28 oathtaking of government officials in Malacañang:
There is nothing to clean in the Pasig River. It is already clean. That is the...state-of-the-art ng (of) Pasig.”
Pasig River is considered the eighth most polluting river in terms of plastic waste, according to a 2017 report by scientific journal Nature.
According to the 2nd Quarter 2019 Pasig River Unified Monitoring System Water Quality Monitoring Report, water in 13 monitoring stations along Pasig River registered coliform above the safe level of 100 most probable number (mpn) per 100 ml.
A cleanup operation conducted by the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) from April 27 to May 9, 2019 hauled 162,390 kilograms of waste (5,413 sacks of garbage).
The PRRC also conducted fish sampling collection and tissue analysis in four areas of the Pasig River on Feb. 9. The study discovered that four fish species exceeded the permissible limit of fecal coliform, and fish samples in Guadalupe and Sta. Ana ferry stations have excessive amounts of lead and mercury.
In a Sept. 17 speech at the oathtaking of another set of newly appointed officials, Duterte said the opposite about Pasig River.
‘Yang Pasig na ‘yan, hindi mo malinis ‘yan because wala naman tayong zoning... Over the years, ang labasan ng mga factory, mga bahay, lahat, Pasig River. O how you can --- you clean that? Kaya itong commission sa Pasig tanggalin ko na ito, place it under General Cimatu sa DENR. Just paying people with… Useless. Hindi mo malinis talaga ‘yan (That Pasig [River], you can’t clean that because we don’t have zoning...Over the years, waste from factories, houses, everything, goes out to Pasig River. How can you clean that? That’s why I’m removing the Pasig [River Rehabilitation] Commission and place it under General [Roy] Cimatu of DENR… Just paying people with… Useless. You can’t really clean that.)
According to PRRC’s 2014 annual report, some of the initiatives and processes being done to rehabilitate Pasig River include solid waste management, relocation of informal settlers, removing private structures and bioremediation.
The commission was established in January 1999 to ensure that the Pasig River System is restored to a pristine condition conducive for transport and propagation of aquatic life. (GA, EB, BM)
Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (2014). 2014 Annual Report. Retrieved from http://www.prrc.gov.ph/images/pdf/Transparent_Government/accomplishments/2014_ar.pdf
Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (2019). 2nd Quarter 2019 Pasig River Unified Monitoring System Water Quality Monitoring Report. Retrieved from https://drive.google.com/file/d/1RZhpz5eA2s3M287jIxaKbC29cgiKtzH9/view
Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (2019). Fish Tissue Analysis in the Pasig River System. Retrieved from https://drive.google.com/file/d/1NbHg0i0vq8IOfIoxACyNIP9WSUhxO8_s/view
Philippine News Agency (2019, May 9). Over 162,000 kgs of waste from Manila Bay removed in Pasig River. Retrieved from https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/106930
Presidential Communications Operations Office (2019, October 28). Speech of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during the oath-taking ceremony of the newly-appointed government officials. Retrieved from https://pcoo.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/20191028-Speech-of-President-Rodrigo-Roa-Duterte-during-the-oath-taking-ceremony-of-the-newly-appointed-government-officials.pdf
Presidential Communications Operations Office (2019, September 17). Speech of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during the oath-taking ceremony of the newly-appointed government officials. Retrieved from https://pcoo.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/20190917-Speech-of-President-Rodrigo-Roa-Duterte-during-the-oath-taking-of-newly-appointed-government-officials-.pdf
Presidential Communications Operations Office (2019, September 10). Speech of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during the oath-taking ceremony of Malacañang Press Corps, Malacañang Cameramen Association, and Presidential Photojournalists Association. Retrieved from https://pcoo.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/20190910-SPEECH-OF-PRESIDENT-RODRIGO-ROA-DUTERTE-DURING-THE-OATH-TAKING-OF-MALACAÑANG-PRESS-CORPS-MALACAÑANG-CAMERAMEN-ASSOCIATION-AND-PRESIDENTIAL-PHOTOJOURNALISTS-ASSOCIATION.pdf