GUIGUINTO, Bulacan–Coinciding with the 25 years celebration of Halamanan Festival, officials and residents on Thursday started the clean up of a long neglected river in the town and adjacent municipality of Balagtas to help address flooding in the areas.
Ugong River connects Guiguinto and Balagtas towns. It is considered part of the biologically dead Meycauayan-Marilao-Obando-Bocaue River System.
Bulacan fifth district Rep. Ambrosio Cruz Jr. who was born and raise in Guiguinto used to catch ayungin and other fish and aquatic resources in the river during his childhood. But he said, over the years, the river has become biologically dead.
Balagtas is adjacent Bocaue. Its waters cascades to adjacent Bulakan town bound to Manila Bay area.
In recent years, due to land subsidence brought by climate change, Guiguinto was identified as one of the heavily flooded areas in Bulacan.
Cleaning and reviving the river is one of the identified measures by municipal governments of Guiguinto and Balagtas in helping address the flooding.
For more than fifty years, the river has been silted as surrounding industries were reported to have polluted the waters including biological wastes such as water lilies and also domestic wastes.
Today, the fourteen companies and industries standing along the 1 km stretch of the Ugong River includiing the earlier reported contributory pollutants have been identified as major partners in reviving and cleaning the river.
Mayor Agatha Paula Cruz who initiated thw river and estero clean up said that the project s not intended to police the companies but rather make them genuine partners in helping revive the dead waters of the two towns.
Guiguinto, Engr. Sudan Carreon, municipal environment and natural resources officer (MENRO) identified Agro Filipino Inc, Crown Asia, Belmar Sugar Confectionery, Anna Verde Residences, LMMC Marketing, Brooklyn Heights and Inchem Industries as partner private companies in helping ensure the revival of the water system.
Carreon said that the companies and industries operate with approved waste water treatment facilities and are continuously being monitored against any violation.
Carreon said the companies fully cooperate and adhere to MENRO rules and guidelines especially when their attentions are called.
Balagtas MENRO Engr. Reyanne Reyes said Zapro, Palmera and Peach and Blossoms Hotels and Motels, Hobart Warehouse, Pascual Laboratories, Rocka Executive Village and Global Agrotech also fully cooperate and implement their own respective waste water treatment facilities.
“Whenever their attention is called, they comply with us and the law and we continue to monitor them,” she said.
Balagtas Mayor Eladio Gonzales sought Rep. Cruz help for a housing project where the informal settlers who have settled along esteros and rivers can be relocated.
Gonzales said local government units cannot afford to order the closure of companies these days which are tax payers as the world still reels from the economic effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor Cruz said the challenge left to her and all the local officials is the sustainability of the project she started because launching, with picture taking, etc. is just a symbolic activity but sustainability is another story.
She asked the help of every Guiguinto and Balagtas officials and residents to do their share in sustaining the river amd estero revival and clean-up.
She asked Rep. Cruz for a back hoe and barge that are needed for the clean-up.
Mayor Cruz said the Guiguinto Business Council also has their own “Adopt a Estero Clean-Up Project” where each companies would help maintain the cleaning and reviving of the Guiguinto River System.