George Oliver De La Rama

George Oliver De La Rama

Mr. George De La Rama is the Head of the Public Information, Advocacy and Tourism Division of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) in the Philippines. He serves as PRRC’s Spokesperson, Editor-in-Chief, and representative in different media and advocacy engagements. He finished Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and took Master of Arts in Communication for his post-graduate studies. He is also a member of the IRF Alumni Network and has been working hand-in-hand with the previous Riverprize winners to further champion the goals of the organization.

Multisectoral Approaches In River Restoration And Management: Case Of Asia Riverprize Champion Pasig River, Philippines

The Philippines’ Pasig River and its vanishing network of creeks and rivers tell a captivating story of a river system which refuses to die. It is a story of how the convergence of various stakeholders helped improve the river’s water quality, increased its biodiversity, enhanced its economic value, and brought the once dead river back to life.

Several river basins around the world have suffered a similar, if not the same fate due to unprecedented population growth, industrial development, deforestation, climate change, and human interventions. Some of the world’s rivers are now polluted, have diminished economic value, and worst, became uninhabitable.

Looking at the river restoration and management framework of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) for the Pasig River, we can learn that its action plan involving easement recovery, resettlement, riverbanks development, waste management, water quality improvement, and public awareness led to the significant improvement of the river and presents concrete solutions that may effectively address our river’s issues.

In addition, one critical component in river rehabilitation is convergence with stakeholders. One organization or agency cannot do everything alone. It is important that all sectors are on board so that we can effectively bridge the gap, learn from each other, and create more impactful results. The convergence of PRRC with different members of its technical working committees is one of the main reasons why it is able to deliver commitments and achieve milestones in the rehabilitation of the Pasig River.

Thus, it is important to acknowledge that there is no single solution to the problems of our world’s rivers and consider multi-sectoral approaches that can lead to more evidence-based and sustainable outcomes.

Low Impact Development Strategies on Riverbanks for Climate Change Resiliency

Climate change has been one of the world’s most predominant environmental issues in recent years which have led to several global campaigns and initiatives to combat and hopefully, find a sustainable solution to end it.

Many countries are already facing threats in water quantity and quality due to rising temperatures and precipitation shifts. People already experience unpredictable trends in weather and water supply while ecosystems are already affected – where wetlands, forests, streams, and rivers now have fewer defenses for protection to changing climates.

In the Philippines, the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) has been applying new strategies in disaster risk management in its riverbanks development program to the waterways of the Pasig River system to combat climate change. One of PRRC’s measures is the inclusion and application of the low impact development (LID) which involves careful planning and engineering designs that mimic natural processes to manage storm-water runoff and water quality.

The multiple storm-water management techniques in LID aim to generate “cleaner water” reducing pollutants before the water is eventually released to the waterways. PRRC’s Tumana Creek Linear Park Project adopts filtration and natural biological treatments. When it rains, the dusts, pollutants, greases or any other contaminants present on the paved walkways are rerouted from storm sewers into plant gardens and soil. Through the absorption of plants like Bandera Espaniola, natural filtration takes place and the perforated pipes below serve as the highways for the filtered water as it disposes to the waterway.

LID has also improved land-based development performance and made it at par with environmental quality requisites. Thus, it is noteworthy to look into this technology and consider it in future riparian development and construction of environmental preservation areas for various environmental and social benefits.

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