Manila BAYanihan para sa Kalikasan: CEMEX volunteers join river rehabilitation project
Manila Bay and its connecting rivers and estuaries have once had pristine waters fit for swimming and other forms of recreational activities. Today, more than 20 million Filipinos have no access to proper sanitation and sewage facilities, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
To do its part in saving crucial water systems that are essential to life, CEMEX Holdings Philippines participated in the “Manila BAYanihan para sa Kalikasan” – a multi-stakeholder initiative that promotes the Filipino tradition of “bayanihan” in working towards the simultaneous cleanup and restoration of waterways in Metro Manila.
The project is led by the DENR together with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police Maritime Group, and Local Government Units (LGUs), among other agencies.
The river system clean-up sought to reinforce the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Project, driven by the vision to restore clean waters in the city and improve preservation efforts among communities for the long-term protection of rivers and tributaries.
CEMEX employee-volunteers took on the task of helping decongest and revive the Marikina River, a vital water system that flows into Pasig River and then drains into Manila Bay. This in line with the company’s H.E.R.O. [Help. Engage. Reach Out.] program which aims to raise the spirit of volunteerism among employees and create positive impact to surrounding communities.
The company’s employee-volunteers joined hundreds of representatives from government and non-government organizations, members of the private sector, and from local communities who showed strong support for the wide-scale effort to provide a safer and cleaner environment for Filipinos.
Prior to the activity, DENR relocated settlers residing along riverbanks to ensure the effective and sustainable implementation of the project.
After decades of pollution that endanger lives in communities, intensifying river rehabilitation efforts signified “the new battle for Manila Bay”.
“Walang imposible kung tayo ay sama-sama, tulong-tulong. Alam natin kaya natin ‘to! Tayo nang mag ‘Manila BAYanihan.’ Sa ating munting hakbang para sa kalikasan, ating maipapamana sa ating mga anak at mga susunod na henerasyon ang isang maayos, malinis at maunlad na Manila Bay. (Nothing is impossible if we work together. We know that we can do this! Let’s support ‘Manila BAYanihan.’ In doing these small steps for the environment, we can pass on to our children and to the next generation a clean and progressive Manila Bay),” enthused Chito Maniago, Executive Director of CEMEX Philippines Foundation and Regional Director for Corporate Communications and Public Affairs at CEMEX Philippines.
Leading the Marikina River cleanup drive were DENR Undersecretary Rodolfo Garcia, Marikina Vice Mayor Jose Fabian Cadiz, LLDA General Manager Jaime Medina, and PNP Maritime Group Chief Police Brigadier General R'win S. Pagkalinawan.
With the DENR at the helm, the commitment of multi-stakeholder groups and volunteers who fought for the challenging undertaking gave hope for the continued upkeep of the connecting waterways, while surrounding communities heed the call to take responsibility for the conservation of these bodies of water.
Supporting the ‘MANILA BAYanihan para sa Kalikasan’ is part of CEMEX’s goal to “Build the Nation Together,” its umbrella social responsibility campaign that is dedicated to uplifting lives and empowering a more productive citizenry for nation-building.
CEMEX has a rich history of improving the welfare of those it serves through innovative building solutions, efficiency advancements, and efforts to promote a sustainable future in more than 50 countries worldwide. In the Philippines, CEMEX subsidiaries Apo Cement Corporation in Cebu and Solid Cement Corporation in Rizal produce and market a broad product mix of building solutions. These cement manufacturing plants carry the well-established cement brands Apo and Rizal. More information is available at www.cemexholdingsphilippines.com