The Pasig River, the cradle of early Manila civilization, is a finalist in the first ever Asia Riverprize by the prestigious International River Foundation (IRF) which recognizes and rewards organizations that make a difference through effective river basin restoration and management programs.
The Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) just came from a successful campaign in the 2017 Thiess International Riverprize competition where they placed second to the San Antonio River of Texas, USA.
PRRC Executive Director Jose Antonio E. Goitia says that “the consecutive entries of the Pasig River as a finalist in the 2017 and 2018 Thiess International and Asia Riverprize, respectively, is a testament that the world recognizes the efforts of the Philippine government to restore the Pasig River and its environs since PRRC was established in 1999.”
In the beginning the competition was called the Asia-Pacific Riverprize Awards which allowed entrants from 45 countries, including New Zealand and Australia. With so many entries and because of the high quality of the said entries it as later decided to split the event into two: Asia Riverprize and Australasia Riverprize.
After much deliberation the committee decided on its finalists for Asia Riverprize, namely the Pasig River (Philippines) and the Yangtze River (China).
Goitia adds “last year, the Philippines is the only third world and developing country that made it into the international finals and bravely competed with the US and the United Kingdom. In this year’s Asia Riverprize, we will be facing another super power – the red dragon, China. However, with an indomitable spirit, we remain steadfast and optimistic that we will stand triumphant in the end.”
Criteria for judging
In behalf of the IRF’s board of river basin experts, IRF Director Professor Bill Dennison says that “these different river stories are united by a common theme: excellence in river management.”
The Riverprize is not a competition of which river is more beautiful or cleaner. This is the reason why the IRF, comprised of river management experts and professionals from around the world, has given importance and consideration to the rehabilitation efforts of the PRRC to bring back the Pasig River system to life.
It has acknowledged PRRC’s commitment in delivering quality projects, programs, and activities in easement recovery, housing and resettlement, riverbanks development, waste and water quality management, and public awareness.
The Pasig River – past, present, and future
There has been significant improvement to the condition of the Parig River where it was once declared in the 90’s as “biologically dead”. While still a work in progress many areas along the historic river have already shown signs of acquatic life. In addition, it has now become conducive to transport, recreation, and tourism.
The Pasig River prepares to win the coveted award
Mr. Jose Antonio E. Goitia, PRRC’s Executive Director, together with Mr. George Oliver G. dela Rama, Division Head of the Public Information Advocay and Tourism join forces to present and defend the Philippines’ Pasig River entry an esteemed panel of judges in the upcoming 21st International Riversymposium on October 14 to 18, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. Other PRRC Management Committee members are also part of the Philippine delegation.
The winner of this prestigious event will receive widespread global recognition, which will, additionally:
- build new partnerships
- provide opportunities for exchange of knowledge and best practices
- open doors for international support
Also, the winner will automatically qualify for Stage Two of the Thiess International Riverprize in 2019.
As one nation, the PRRC seeks everyone’s support to its Pasig River entry in the 2018 Asia Riverprize. The Pasig River’s victory is the victory of the Philippines and every Filipino who works hard and shares the same vision of saving our waterways and the environment. It will be the triumph of all who believe that the dream of a clean and alive Pasig River is within reach!