PASIG RIVER ORGANIZING
The Pasig River Rehabilitation Project (PRRP) was one of the flagship projects of former President Fidel Ramos. Funded by the Danish International Development Aid (DANIDA), the PRRP aims to clean up the heavily polluted river to spur tourism growth, carve out new transportation routes and lure foreign investors. A major part of the cleaning up entails the removal of structures located within the 10-meter easement along the riverbanks. This includes the houses of approximately 10,000 urban poor families living along the Pasig River.
When the Estrada administration took over in 1998, the PRRP remained a flagship project. The Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC), composed of Cabinet members, was created to oversee its implementation. Since its inception in 1993, about 5,000 families have been evicted and relocated to remote areas of Cavite and Montalban: away from their sources of livelihood and with minimal social services available.
CO Multiversity and Multisectoral Partnerships Towards Sustainable Riverside Communities
In response to the effects of the government’s Pasig rehabilitation project, the Community Organizers Multiversity (CO Multiversity) established partnership with riverside communities to bring into the development equation, the needs and aspirations of marginalized families who have lived many years along the river.
CO Multiversity’s main strategy is community organizing a social development approach that transforms apathetic and marginalized sectors of society into dynamic, participatory and politically responsive communities.
The CO Multiversity riverside community partners and NGOs such as Sagip Pasig Movement (SPM), Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE), with the cooperation of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) have conducted Earthday celebration which gives "Lason sa Ilog Pasig Awards" (Pasig River Poison Awards) every year since 1995 which helped in the enforcement of the industries improvement of industrial waste management.
The partnership of CO Multiversity with the said riverside communities have developed the "People’s Plan which resulted from community based processes in research, house design options, and negotiation with local government units and the agencies dealing with Pasig River.
For the past six years, CO Multiversity has worked closely with NGOs and POs in the affected riverside communities spanning the cities of Pasig, Manila, Mandaluyong and Makati. Organizing work in these urban poor communities is aimed at pursuing in-city relocation. POs along the river are mobilizing their forces, calling on the local governments and various line agencies to recognize their alternative housing proposals.
Together with the pursuit of an in-city relocation, organizing initiaves are also being conducted in Kasiglashan Village 1, a relocation site located in San Jose, Rodriguez, Rizal. The people’s organization in the area are currently working on their access to basic services and the development of a community-based estate management plan.
Pasig River Communities People’s Plan Highlights
The following section identifies and describes the results of the community partnerships of CO Multiversity since 1994 towards establishment of local grassroots organizations in riverside communities. From 1994-1997 the organization was then known as CO-TRAIN extended community organizing assistance to the communities cited in this section. Urban Poor Associates (UPA) a partner NGO is currently providing support to the process of people’s plan to Baseco, and Pineda while CO Multiversity continue CO work in Punta and Comembo.
Punta, Sta. Ana, Manila
In 1998, almost a thousand affected families living within the 10 meter easement started the process of exploring different alternative options to government far-away relocation site. Since then the Dikeside Organization of Punta (DSOP) formulated diffrent options such as the rechannelling of the river, reclaimation and constructing a boardwalk extending towards the river.
After a series of community workshops, and thorough analysis of the technical working committee composed of local leaders, architects, and other technical people, a Punta People’s Plan was officially submitted to the PRRC for approval. This plan aims to acquire a portion of the Marcelo Steels property, a 9 hectare idle land for more than 20 years. The plan needs 3 hectares of the said property to be able to construct a low-cost medium rise building that would house all the affected families along the river.
The community is currently negotiating with the government and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for full support on this plan. Feasibility study is being done by the technical working committee.
This is a community along a tributary, the Pateros river, of the main Pasig river system. Three meters easement was already cleared by the PRRC and a written statement was issued ensuring that 10 meter easement clearing will not be implemented in this area.
The community organization, the United Group for Progress, Inc. (UGPI) is now negotiating its tenurial issues at the DENR and LGU level. The UGPI is now gearing to undergo a process of formulating a People’s Plan that contains the community development plan for the area.
The CO Multiversity provides assistance in community organizing processes.
Pineda, Pasig City
After 29 years of residence in Brgy. Pineda, around 500 members of the Samahang Pinagsama sa Pineda-MRR (SAMAPI) look forward to the realization of their dream.
They are now at the stage where they can forever leave behind the monicker of being squatters, and proudly declare themselves as homeowners. At last, HUDCC, NHA, ADB and the LGU has given their support for the People’s Plan, paving the way for on-site development in the community. The current work is focused on formulating a financing scheme and site development plan beneficial to all stakeholders in the process.
The Kabalikat sa Pagpapaunlad ng Baseco (KABALIKAT) with most of its members affected by the 10 meters easement clearing by the PRRC and other LGU road widening projects, conducted series of consultations during the early part of this year. The consultations covered all 18 blocks of the BASECO Compound. The consultation meetings resulted into the identification of an area near the compound that can be reclaimed. Three alternative housing options for the people were also cited: single detached housing, duplex, and row housing.
The technical group came up with needed drawings that will used by the organization in the future presentation of the options to other stakeholders like the PRRC, HUDCC, and the LGU. At this point, KABALIKAT is consolidating and gathering consensus among all affected regarding the options most feasible for an alternative people’s community development plan for BASECO.
Ateneo de Manila University
ARS Women’s Group of Fukuoka
BALAY – CODEWAN
Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace
Clean and Green Foundation
Community Organizing for Philippine Enterprise
DANIDA - Department of Environment and Natural Resources
(DENR) - River Rehabilitaion Secretariat (RRS)
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
Foundation for Philippine
Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council
Leaders and Community Organizers of Asia (LOCOA)
National Housing Authority (NHA)
OXFAM Great Britain
Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) – Social Work Department
Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission
Philippine Partnership for Support Service Agencies
Polytechnic University of The Philippines – Sociology Department
Presidential Social Fund
Sagip Pasig Movement
Ugnayang Lakas ng mga Apektadong Pamilya sa Baybaying Ilog Pasig
Ugnayan ng mga Maralitang Nailikas sa Bautista
Ugnayan ng mga Tagasagip ng Ilog Pasig
University of the Philippines – College of Social Work and Community Development
Urban Poor Associates
Urban Poor Colloquium
note: partners since 1994 - present