Monday, July 6, 2020

Pres. Duterte Abolishes Pasig River Rehab Commission


President Rodrigo Duterte, through Executive Order (EO) 93, has abolished the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC).

In a letter dated November 12 and addressed to PRRC officer-in-charge Assistant Secretary Joan Lagunda, the President submitted a certified copy of EO 93, which formally orders the “disestablishment of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission.”

Under EO 93 signed on November 8, Duterte stresses the need to “consolidate ongoing rehabilitation efforts in all river systems and tributaries within the Manila Bay Region and streamline rehabilitation functions by transferring them to agencies with relevant core mandates.”

“The PRRC is hereby disestablished,” the order, which takes effect immediately upon publication in the Official Gazette or a newspaper of general circulation, read.

The signing of EO 93 came after Duterte on September 18 bared his plan to dismantle the PRRC.

It also came over two months after the Chief Executive fired PRRC executive director Jose Antonio Goitia for supposed involvement in corrupt activities.

EO 93 directs the transfer of PRRC’s functions, including “all necessary and incidental powers,” to the Manila Bay Task Force, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

The Manila Bay Task Force is tasked to “update and take the lead” in the overall implementation of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Master Plan.

The master plan aims to harness the Pasig River’s potential for transportation, recreation and tourism purposes while undertaking the rehabilitation and restoration of its marine life.

The DENR, meantime, is mandated to ensure the enforcement of easements provided for in the Civil Code and other relevant laws, especially in estuaries and waterways that drain into the Pasig River.

EO 93 also orders the Environment department to abate the dumping of untreated industrial wastewater and sewerage into the river, including all acts and omissions in violation of Presidential Decrees (PD) 948 and 274 inked in 1976 and in 1973, respectively.

Under the EO, the DHSUD is designated to lead relocation of informal settlers and other unauthorized occupants along the banks of the Pasig River.

The MMDA and the DPWH, consistent with their respective mandates, are directed to ensure the dismantling and removal of all structures, constructions, and other encroachments established or built along Pasig River.

The two agencies are also ordered to undertake civil works, “as may be necessary,” such as dredging and cleaning of the Pasig River and all the inland channels, estuaries, and waterways that drain into it.

The MMDA and the DPWH can coordinate with the Department of the Interior and Local Government, concerned local chief executives, and the Philippine National Police Maritime Group, according to the EO.

Two months after EO 93’s effectivity, the Budget department will supervise the winding up of the operations of the PRRC and the final disposition or transfer of its functions, obligations, assets and liabilities pursuant to the order, as well as the separation or transfer of its personnel, as may be necessary, in accordance with applicable laws, rules, and regulations.

“If any part or provision of this Order is held unconstitutional or invalid, other parts not affected thereby shall continue to be in full force and effect,” the order said. (PNA)


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