Manila, Philippines – The Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) has a total regional budget allocation of P293,578,000 for this year.
PRRC Budget Specialist Haydee Torralba said of the amount approved in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for this year, P292,884,000 covers the PRRC’s locally funded projects, general administration and support, and operations.
Also alloted in the budget is PRRC’s current operating expenditures composed of personal services, capital outlays, and maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE). [more]
“The Retirement and Life Insurance Premium (RLIP) was responsible for the numerical discrepancy between the amounts reflected in the 2012 regional budget allocation and the 2012 GAA-approved budget,” said Torralba.
While figures were not shown in either of the documents, PRRC’s 2013 proposed budget appropriation listed RLIP figures under “automatic appropriations” in 2012.
Projects associated with PRRC’s “clean-estero-first” approach and main river development have the biggest budget share for this year with at least P180 million.
In October 2009, ABS-CBN Foundation Inc. (AFI), with the help of private companies as part of their “corporate social responsibilities,” primarily funded the newly rehabilitated Estero de Paco, PRRC’s flagship project.
“The budget for Estero de Paco was solicited from among private companies. At that time, there was still no allotment coming from the national government,” said PRRC Technical Operations Deputy Executive Director Reach Peñaflor in a separate interview.
However, he did not specify the exact solicited amount.
PRRC started greening and face-lifting efforts in Estero de Paco when Gina Lopez assumed the commission’s chairmanship, while the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) finished the easement and slope protection drives, according to Peñaflor.
Locally funded projects include slope protection and “phytoremediation” (risk reduction using living plants); “bioremediation” (treatment of contaminated water using microorganisms); linear park development; surface artificial island reactor installment; dredging and desilting works, and riverbanks improvement.
They can be seen in the tributaries of Quiapo, San Sebastian, Aviles, Uli-uli, Sampaloc, and Valencia.
The 2012 budget for rehabilitating all six tributaries totals more than P173 million.
Of the six, Estero de Valencia has the largest allocation due to its length.
The rehabilitation of main Pasig River, which is also listed under the project component, is primarily done through greening and “phytotechnology” (the use of plants in studying problems and identifying solutions), and linear park development.
Meanwhile, PRRC’s general administration and support and operations were allotted at least P112 million meant for coordination, integration, and execution of all programs related to Pasig River rehabilitation.
Operating expenses for the existing projects that include civilian wages, salaries, fixed personnel expenditures such as Pag-IBIG, health insurance, and compensation insurance premium and other MOOE used up the remaining budget.
From 2010 to 2012, the 2010 GAA-approved budget of P1,179,861,000 posted the highest, with foreign-assisted projects included in the breakdown.
In 2011, PRRC declared P159,613,000, based on the regional budget allocation, with the inclusion of “special shares of local government units in the proceeds of national taxes” spelling a major difference from the previous year’s budget.
For 2013, the commission has a proposed budget of P473,144,000 with continuing appropriations and some budgetary adjustments. PRRC also plans to target Pasong Tamo, San Francisco, and Culiat creeks.
Floating wetlands and solar powered floating island aerators are new additions to PRRC’s locally funded projects next year.
“As of now, we are still in the social preparation stage for the informal settlers. We still have to relocate them before we can implement actual infrastructure projects,” Peñaflor said.
Helping PRRC achieve its goals for Pasig River are the Kapit Bisig Para sa Ilog Pasig, the National Housing Authority, the Department of Interior and Local Government, and DPWH, among other government agencies, and the private sector. (TO BE CONTINUED)