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PGMA donates P30M to Kapit Bisig Para sa Ilog Pasig

MANILA, Feb. 22 — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo announced on Monday that she is donating P30-million from the President’s Social Fund to the Kapit Bisig Para sa Ilog Pasig (KBPIP), a non-government organization (NGO) advocating the clean-up of the heavily polluted Pasig River through a three-pronged approach of rehabilitation, education, and the implementation of stricter market management rules.

The Chief Executive made the announcement during groundbreaking ceremonies marking the start of the restoration works on the Paco Market in Manila this morning.

The Paco Market Restoration Project, which forms part of an ambitious undertaking to clean up the Pasig River, is being conducted in cooperation with the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission and the KBPIP, a partnership between ABS-CBN Foundation Inc. (AFI) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

AFI managing director Gina Lopez said KBPIP will allocate P15-million for the Paco Market Rehabilitation Project, which will be completed in six months, while P5- million will go to the building of easements along Estero de Paco and the remaining P10-million will be used to complete the "Bayanijuan sa Calauan" resettlement site in Laguna.

In her short message, the President cited the KBPIP for its pioneering work to rehabilitate the Pasig river, saying the NGO is a perfect example of how the private sector helps in her government’s 3E’s program.

The President's 3Es action plan is a three-tiered approach aimed at alleviating poverty by addressing its main causes: the lack of jobs, investment, and infrastructure.

She said KBPIP’s “all-around” approach to address the rehabilitation and clean-up of the Pasig river would result to the propagation of a more business-friendly atmosphere in the area that would spur commerce and economic activities and opportunities.

The President particularly noted that prior to the actual river clean-up measures adapted by the KBPIP, it first took care of providing a resettlement area in Calauan, Laguna for some 830 informal settlers who used to live in and around the Estero del Paco, a main tributary of the Pasig river.

Now, a large open space occupies what once was full of people and their trash, providing members of various government agencies like the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) a place to begin their river clean-up work.

“Pag malinis na ang Pasig river, malaki ang magiging ginhawa sa mga taga-Metro Manila (A clean and unpolluted Pasig River will provide Metro Manilas with a more relaxed atmosphere),” she added.

Also joining the President in the groundbreaking rites were Manila City Mayor Alfredo Lim, and Manila Rep. Amado Bagatsing. (PNA)

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