MANILA, July 30 — A possible public-private partnership for restoring the Iloilo River is in the offing between the Iloilo City Government and the Manuel V. Pangilinan-led firms, a development being pushed by Senate President Franklin Drilon.
Drilon and Iloilo City Mayor Jed Mabilog met with Pangilinan and his team Tuesday to brief the group of the business tycoon regarding Iloilo River and efforts, both short and long terms, being undertaken to revive the river and make it the anchor of economic development in the city.
The group of Mr. Pangilinan is examining the entire plan to determine if there can be viable significant public-private partnership. Nothing is certain yet at this point because we are still in the exploratory talks as to which aspect of the rehabilitation plan hey can best intervene in, said Drilon.
I hope, as of all of us would like to see, to get Mr. Pangilinan and his group signed up for Iloilo River rehabilitation, he added.
Drilon told Pangilinan the Iloilo River is now a finalist in an international environmental feat known as the Thiess International Riverprize award because of the various collaborative undertakings that have been done to clean and save the 20-kilometer river from further damage.
Iloilo River is representing the whole of Asia in the said award along with Bolshaya River in Russia, Mara River in Kenya, Africa and the Murray Darling Basin in Australia, noted Drilon.
Drilon also told Pangilinan the river used to contain various kinds of natural and man-made obstructions that altered the original flow of the water and brought about pollution to the river.
But with the strong political will and collaborative efforts among its stakeholders, Drilon said the redevelopment of Iloilo River is already showing positive effects.
Drilon relayed to MVP, as he is commonly referred to, the various activities the Iloilo River Development Council has so far achieved which include, among others, the removal of 10 derelicts and 38 idle vessels, fish pens; and relocation of about 1,000 families living along the danger zones of the river and its tributaries.
Drilon also constructed an esplanade – funded through his priority development assistance fund – along the river to boost tourism in the city and to increase environmental awareness among its residents. (PNA)