Aboitiz, DENR team up to save Manila Bay
The Aboitiz Group, through its parent firm Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc. (AEV) and its corporate social responsibility arm Aboitiz Foundation, is partnering once again with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), this time to help rehabilitate the San Juan River.
The San Juan River (a Pasig River tributary) spans nearly 11 kilometers from Quezon City to Manila, and is considered by DENR as Metro Manila’s most polluted waterway. At present, the river’s water quality is considered poor, with fecal coliform (human or animal waste) and biochemical oxygen demand (organic strength of wastes in water) exceeding acceptable levels, and with no measurable dissolved oxygen, making it unsuitable for fish and other aquatic organisms.
The river’s cleanup is part of the larger Manila Bay Rehabilitation plan.
Through a Memorandum of Agreement signed in Quezon City on August 16, Friday, by DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu and AEV Chief Operating Officer Sabin M. Aboitiz, the San Juan River Rehabilitation will involve the development and implementation of a comprehensive program intended to reduce pollution in San Juan River through the clean-up, rehabilitation, conservation, and preservation of the river.
Optimistic on the DENR’s partnership with Aboitiz, Sec. Cimatu said: “Today, we take a solid and resolute step towards winning the Battle for Manila Bay with the signing of a memorandum of agreement among the DENR, Aboitiz Equity Ventures, and the Aboitiz Foundation, for the sustainable cleanup and rehabilitation of the San Juan River.”
For the Aboitiz Group, its partnership with DENR aligns with its longstanding commitment to the environment.
“The Aboitiz Group is committed to building a sustainable enterprise that can be entrusted to future generations and, in the process, we desire to bring about positive change for all our stakeholders. With this fundamental idea, we uphold our Group Purpose and Brand Promise — to drive change for a better world by advancing business and communities,” Aboitiz said.
Over the next three years various stakeholder engagement activities, education campaigns, livelihood programs, and cleanup activities will be conducted. Specific rehabilitation efforts to be undertaken include garbage removal and cleanup activities, silt removal, easement recovery and protection, and an overall sustainability program involving local chief executives, homeowners associations, private partners, and other stakeholders.
“The DENR continues to be our vital and constant partner in this agenda, enabling us to make a meaningful contribution to collective efforts amid environmental challenges such as deforestation, biodiversity loss, and water quality, just to name a few,” Aboitiz added.
The project will be implemented in accordance with the “San Juan River Rehabilitation Plan” which will subsequently be finalized by AEV, the Aboitiz Foundation, and DENR.
This is not the first time the Aboitiz Group has partnered with the DENR. Last World Environment Day (June 5), Aboitiz and DENR renewed its partnership to sustain ecological balance through the planting of nine million trees by end-2020. Last August 2018, the Aboitiz also pledged its support for the ongoing Boracay Island rehabilitation by adopting and reviving the one-hectare Boracay Wetland 4.