By Leonel Abasola

Pasig River ferry service (PNA file photo by Joey O. Razon)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has constituted the “Inter-Agency Council for the Pasig River Urban Development” as part of the administration’s response to the urgent need to rehabilitate and enhance the quality of life along the banks of Pasig River.

A four-page Executive Order (EO) No. 35, issued on July 25 and signed by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, stated that the inter-agency council will be responsible for facilitating and ensuring the full rehabilitation of the banks along the Pasig River water system and nearby water systems.

The inter-agency council will be chaired by the Secretary of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development, vice chaired by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairperson, and will have 13 member agencies — Public Works and Highways, Environment, Interior and Local Government, Tourism, Transportation, Finance and Budget departments; National Historical Commission of the Philippines, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Philippine Ports Authority, Philippine Coast Guard, Laguna Lake Development Authority and Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority.

Aside from facilitating and ensuring the full rehabilitation of the river, the council is also tasked to formulate a Pasig River Urban Development Plan and implement a coordinated and integrated rehabilitation of the Pasig Riverbanks system and nearby water systems.

It is also tasked to ensure that easements provided under Republic Act 386 (Civil Code of the Philippines) and other relevant laws are followed; study, prepare and implement a comprehensive shelter plan for relocation of informal settlers; and, accept grants or any assistance from local and foreign sources subject to existing laws, rules and regulations.

The council is directed to work closely with the national government agencies and local government units to review the existing Presidential issuances related to the rehabilitation and development of the Pasig River, and recommend to the Office of the President the repeal or amendment of the same.

The council is directed to submit a quarterly report on the implementation of the EO. (PND)