THE Estero de San Miguel in Manila has been recognized as Metro Manila’s “most improved estero.”
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-National Capital Region (DENR-NCR) has given the recognition during the recently 2nd “Gawad Taga-Ilog” awarding ceremony wherein the Estero de San Miguel is this year’s grand winner.
The Gawad Taga-Ilog recognizes the efforts of local governments in Metro Manila – barangays in particular – in keeping their waterways clean and trash-free, as well as their active participation in the ongoing rehabilitation of Manila Bay.
It also encourages change in the attitude and outlook of Metro Manila residents regarding their role in keeping and maintaining waterways clean.
Meanwhile, the 1st runner-up was Estero Tripa de Gallina in Pasay City and Makati City; 2nd runner-up, Park Creek 23 in Marikina City; 3rd runner-up, Polo River in Valenzuela City; and 4th runner-up was Zapote River in Las Piñas City.
The awarding ceremony was also in time with this year’s celebration of “World Water Day” under the theme, “Groundwater: Making the Invisible, Visible”.
DENR acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna commended the search for the most improved estero, noting that it should be “replicated in other regions, specially selected areas of the Manila Bay regions.”
“This should be done to recognize the efforts of local government units [LGUs], partners, stakeholders, and communities in cleaning, restoring, and protecting our waterways,” Sampulna said in his speech delivered by Undersecretary for Field Operations – Luzon, Visayas, and Environment Juan Miguel Cuna.
Meanwhile, citations were given to the different esteros in Metro Manila, namely, Estero de Maypajo in Navotas City, Sucol River in Malabon City, Ermitaño Creek in the City of San Juan, Estero de Maypajo in Caloocan City, Maytunas Creek in Mandaluyong City, Lanuza Creek in Pasig City, and Tipas River in Taguig City.
Judges for Gawad Taga-Ilog 2.0 include DENR officials and partners who are professionals in the field of environmental protection, possess independence, which means being free of any royalties, duties, or interests that might inappropriately influence the performance of a judge’s functions, manifest impartiality and have a sense of perspective.
DENR-NCR Regional Executive Director Jacqueline Caancan, on the other hand, said that the Gawad Taga-Ilog was launched in 2020 “not to promote competition but to inspire cooperation among our partner barangays.”
“Indeed, Gawad Taga-Ilog is built on the premise that Manila Bay is a watershed. All rivers and esteros within the watershed drain their waters –together with all the liquid and solid wastes from our households, offices, factories, etc. – to Manila Bay. Cleaning the historic water body, therefore, necessitates an integrated or ecosystem-based approach, from ridge to reef,” Caancan said.
In 2020, a total of 33 waterways were nominated with three barangays emerging as winners, which include Bgys. NBBS Dagat-Dagatan and Bangkulasi in Navotas City as 2nd runners-up, Bgy. Marikina Heights in Marikina City as 1st runner-up, and Bgy. Lingunan in Valenzuela City as the grand winner.