PBBM unveils showcase area for “Pasig Bigyan Buhay Muli” project
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos on Wednesday led the inauguration of the showcase area of the Pasig River urban development project in Manila.
The showcase area, spanning almost 500 meters behind the Manila Central Post Office building, is part of the initial phase of the comprehensive, multi-agency urban renewal project spearheaded by the Inter-Agency Council for the Pasig River Urban Development (IAC- PRUD), chaired by Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) Secretary Jose Rizalino Acuzar.
Dubbed the “Pasig Bigyan Buhay Muli” (PBBM), the project aims to transform the Pasig River into a center of economic activity and tourism, and promote transportation connectivity in Metro Manila and adjacent provinces.
The newly-constructed showcase area will serve as a public park consisting of a pedestrian-friendly walkway on a concrete platform equipped with a water fountain accented by lighting, and sitting areas which can also serve as an open-air venue for events.
“Patunay po ito na kapag nagsama-sama ang lahat ay walang imposible. Sa pagkakaisa ng gobyerno at pribadong sektor ay nabuo ang napakagandang parke na ito na sumisimbolo sa bagong pag-asa,” President Marcos Jr. said.
“Asahan po ninyo na ako, kasama ang First Lady, ay makakasama ninyo hanggang sa mabuo ang proyektong ito na isa na namang malaking hakbang patungo sa Bagong Pilipinas,” the President added.
On July 25, 2023, President Marcos Jr. issued Executive Order 35, mandating the “rehabilitation of the Pasig River to its historically pristine condition conducive to transport, recreation, and tourism.” The IAC-PRUD immediately developed a master plan for the rehabilitation project which was subsequently approved.
“For a river that has given us so much, we have given back too little. Our stewardship of this national asset leaves much to be desired. A national deficit, which we have never properly erased,” President Marcos Jr said in his speech.
“For a river that has given us so much, we have given back too little. Our stewardship of this national asset leaves much to be desired. A national deficit, which we have never properly erased.”
The First Lady was the first to throw her full commitment to the project, which will give rise to mixed-use establishments along the river banks from Manila to Pasig City, thus, maximizing the waterway’s full potential.
Recreational and wellness amenities such as public parks and jogging and bike paths will also be constructed in key areas along the 26-kilometer stretch of the river, which traverses 11 cities in the metropolis.
In response to EO 35’s call to improve the quality of life along the banks of the river and its surrounding communities, the IAC-PRUD’s master plan includes the relocation of informal settler families (ISFs) who currently reside along river banks. The relocation of ISFs will be undertaken as part of the flagship Pambansang Pabahay Para sa Pilipino Program being implemented also by DHSUD.
“The transformation we would like to see in Pasig River are not cosmetic in nature. We will not paper over the river’s fundamental problems, nor whitewash its grime while leaving the old and rotten still there. We do not want a river that is instantly made picturesque by coats of paint. We want a river whose transformation sinks to its very bottom.”
The showcase area behind the Manila Central Post Office is highlighted by a transition bridge under the Jones Bridge that will ensure seamless connectivity from Manila Bay’s north harbor to Laguna de Bay.
The government envisions the Pasig River to play a significant role in economic development activities in the metropolis just like waterways in other major cities in the world, like the Thames River in London, the Chao Phraya in Bangkok, and the Seine River in Paris.
“The transformation we would like to see in Pasig River are not cosmetic in nature. We will not paper over the river’s fundamental problems, nor whitewash its grime while leaving the old and rotten still there. We do not want a river that is instantly made picturesque by coats of paint. We want a river whose transformation sinks to its very bottom,” added President Marcos Jr.
“We already have the all-out support of the President and the First Lady. With the dedication of the inter-agency council and financial help from donors in the private sector, we hope to transform the First Couple’s vision into reality, restore the beauty of the Pasig River, and transform it into a prominent landmark for tourism and economic activity,” Acuzar said.