The 2016 Metro Manila Partners’ Forum for the Adopt-an-Estero/Water Body Program was participated by the 47 Public and Private Donors that adopted 42 esteros in the Ntional Capital Region at the Sulo Riviera Hotel On November 14-15.

EMB-NCR Director Vizminda A. Osorio who gave welcome remaks said, “today is a significant day for all of us present here not because the adopt-an-estero program is part of our mandate or corporate social responsibility (CSR) but because we are all part in the clean up of Manila Bay and that we are committed in improving the quality of our water ways.”

EMB Director Gilbert Gonzales in his Keynote Message likewise, expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the partner donors for significantly contributing to the project. In his speech, Director Gonzales said,“Pollution is still a major issue but one thing assuring is the awareness of many sectors and their willingness to help address the issue”. He ended his speech by expressing his optimsm that the future generation will still witness the improvement of the waterbodies’ water quality through the continuing collaboration and partnership among the National Government Agencies (NGA), Local Goverment Units (LGUs), the donor partners and the civil society.

Dr. Emmanual Luna , UP College of Social Work and Community Development presented practical paradigm on ensuring sustainable community ownership and participation in the adopt-an estero water body program.

One of the Highlights of the event was the sharing of the good practices of the partner donors in the implementation of the adopt-an-estero program together with the challenges they encountered and their plans in taking the partnership to the next level.

The presentation of Mr. Dante Santiagio , CENRO, San Juan City resembles the efforts of the other partner donors, however, his implementation of the program is unique with the integration of Gender and Development (GAD) component by incorporating in their PPMP additional budget for such purpose.

Ms. Elizabeth Gutirrez of Malabon coined their Clean up Activity as “Million People Clean Up” with the overwhelming participation of residents traversing the Estero de Lapu-Lapu.

Moreover, the LGUs of Taguig, Pasay, Pateros and Quezon City conduct a regular clean up of their esteros in coordination with their donor partners, other Government Agencies like MMDA and DPWH in collaboration with the activities of EMB-NCR on the improvement of the waterways like World Water Day, Earth Day, International Coastal Clean-Up and the like.

Furthermore, Mr. Aldo Mayor of MMDA lectured on the safety protocols during Clean-up Drives. Aside from the usual face mask, safety boots and other safety implements, Mr. Mayor encouraged the use of flood suits to protect estero cleaners from water contamination and other fatal diseases like leptospirosis, gastroenteritis, tetanus and amoebiasis.

Before the Workshop, DOST-NCR Asst. Regional Director Jose Patalinjug lll presented some of the technology extended to the Local Government Units. Among the few are: The vinegar acetator in the public market of Pasay City which uses banana, pineapple and other fruit peelings to make vinegar. The technology also aims to reduce solid wastes in the market; Muntinlupa City was given scholarship grants for women in welding seminars/ training; the bioreactor which can compost solid wastes at a capacity close to 400 kilograms can be a source of soil conditioner for the agriculture sector and ornamental plant hobbyist.

Finally, Asst. Director Jacqueline Caancan mentioned the plans on adopt-an-estero program under the leadership of DENR Secretary Gina Lopez that the program must elevate into some degree of convergence with other programs of other national government agencies to achieve a broader and indepth implementation of the program.

The two-day event was participated by about 200 participants from the barangays traversed by the 42 adopted esteros, representatives of the national government agencies, the Local Government Units and the private sector.

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