MWSS Administrator Salamat thanked his co-signatories, Manila Water President Mr. Jose Rene Almendras, Assistant Secretary for Climate Change Mr. Ricardo Calderon, Mayor Francis Zamora, and Mayor Joy Belmonte, during the MOA signing of the Adopt-an-Estero Program held on 29 September 2020. Jointly the LGUs of Quezon City, San Juan, and Mandaluyong with DENR, LLDA, MWSS, and Manila Water has committed to restoring the Maytunas Creek, Buhangin Creek, Ermitanyo Creek, and Buayang Bato Creeks, all tributaries to the San Juan River (the River), and protect it from further degradation. Among the restoration activities and projects included in the MOA are the general clean-up and maintenance activities, installation of portable toilets, chlorine dosing, bacteria-based water quality treatment, flow improvements, Materials Recovery Facility System in the vicinity of the River.
The Adopt an Estero Program is part of a response to continuing mandamus by the Supreme Court to the 13 (MWSS, DILG, DepEd, DOH, DA, DPWH, DBM, MMDA, LWUA, PPA, PNP-Maritime Group, Philippine Coast Guard) agencies led by the DENR to clean up Manila Bay and the esteros and waterways discharging into it. Adopting the San Juan River ties up with the rejuvenation loop system since the River is considered one of the most polluted major tributaries that drain into the Pasig River and eventually flow out to Manila Bay.
Investments for the expansion of new sewer lines and construction of new sewerage facilities are interdependent with the proper management of solid wastes, including the promotion of waste reduction, reuse and recycling, partnership in community mobilization, and information and education campaigns for water quality, climate change, and disaster resiliency. Residents and communities have a huge part to play (not just the government and the public sector) in the overall effort. Their participation and commitment will positively impact and serve as a powerful driving force to a faster approach to cleaning the waterways and the overall ecosystem.