By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) admitted that it needs budget to hasten the cleaning of the Pasig River to give way to the revival of the Pasig River ferry system.
The MMDA made the statement weeks after it was reported that President Duterte approved the proposal to institutionalize the Pasig River Ferry Convergence Program during the last Cabinet meeting.
MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago, in an interview over state-run Radyo Pilipinas, said that cleaning up the metro’s most famous river has been a challenge for the agency.
She also said that the 21 ferries may face trouble during the rainy days if the river will not be cleaned of the water lilies there.
“Nahihirapan ho kami diyan sir kapag tag-ulan, iyong mga lilies. So kasama rin ho doon sa ni-request natin iyong budget ho para mabilis ho nating malinis iyong mga water lilies. Kasi sir sa ngayon, mano-mano pa kami sa water lilies,” Pialago said.
Pialago also said that the rehabilitation of the Pasig River is also necessary in order to convince commuters to take the ferries as an alternative to other public transportation. She said the MMDA will also add more stations so it will be more accessible to the public.
“Ang idea ho kasi ng pagre-rehabilitate natin – pagsasabuhay ng Pasig ferry natin sir – para magkaroon po ng alternatibo iyong mga commuters natin. Pero sir, hindi mo sila mahihikayat kapag madumi, maalansangan, mabaho, hindi komportable, kaya sure dadagdagan natin ng marami pang stations,” she said.
Pialago also said that during the summer season, the Pasig River ferry system averages at least a thousand passengers a day, a number which is five to 10 times larger compared to the 100 to 200 passenger average during the rainy season.