RIVERS run through the center of each flourishing cities where they provide their most valuable resource: water. Left photo is the beautiful Esplanade that is strategically built near the Iloilo River as a tourism attraction. While right photo shows the ongoing development of the Malandog River, whose historical significance shaped the culture and heritage of Panay Island. This is where the famous landing of the ten Bornean datus was etched in the history of Antique province right up to this day.
Most of the highly urbanized cities developed around a river system. This is so for humans needed the ecosystem services that only rivers can provide. Rivers are source of fresh water and help recharge the aquifer, support natural processes such as flood prevention, and provide habitats for plants and animals.
Here in Western Visayas, most of our urban cities flourished near or around a river system. In Iloilo City, our Esplanades is built around the Iloilo River, giving both residents of the city and tourists fantastic, natural amenities while jogging or walking through it. Obviously, the benefits of living near a river cannot be understated.
Upon seeing the beautiful changes of the Iloilo River and how it has become a tourist attraction for the city, DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu was moved to conclude that it would take political will and a united effort of all stakeholders to attain such change. He wanted to replicate the same kind of success for all rivers in the country.
“Our clean rivers are a mirror of our good environmental governance. We need to clean the rivers in our respective areas of jurisdiction so that the people and environment benefit from it,” Cimatu told DENR field officials.
Aside from the DENR officials and employees, Cimatu also encouraged the local government chief executives to be vigilant in implementing environmental laws such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.
“We aim to tap concerted action to protect the country’s rivers from degradation and pollution and ensure their suitability, sustainability, and further improvement,” Cimatu said.
Towards the realization of having clean rivers, DENR field offices have conducted river profiling of all the rivers in their areas of jurisdiction. River profiling is a tedious process that included the identification of threats for the river in order to craft the best solutions that can be done to reverse river degradation.
“It is a tall order from the good Secretary. Nonetheless, it will be DENR’s legacy both for the people and the environment. When we protect the environment, we protect the lives of the people as well,” said Francisco E. Milla, Jr., Regional Executive Director of DENR 6.