Bishop joins opposition against Pasig River expressway

March 28, 2022 - 2:32 PM
This Aug. 16, 2015 shows the first ever fluvial procession of the image of the historic Santo Niño de Cebu on the Pasig River. (CBCP News/File photo)

A Catholic bishop has warned of negative consequences if the controversial Pasig River Expressway (PAREX) project pushes through.

In a pastoral statement issued Friday, Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara of Pasig said the P95-billion investment by conglomerate San Miguel Corp. “is not a solution to ease the traffic but will worsen our future”.

The PAREX, he said, goes against the need to protect and, most of all, rehabilitate the historic river.

“We do not need another project like an expressway in order to be called a ‘livable city’ that will cause harm and death,” Vergara said.

The PAREX is a 19.37-kilometer and six lane elevated concrete behemoth, which traverses the entirety of Pasig River from Radial Road 10 in Manila to C-6 Road or the South East Metro Manila Expressway in Taguig.

The prelate was the latest to oppose the PAREX, joining various other organizations and coalitions.

Vergara said the project “will be detrimental to the river itself, its surrounding communities, and to Metro Manila at large”.

Among other reasons, the diocese is opposing the project because of its impact on ecology, health and culture.

The bishop said the PAREX will dredge several parts of the river, which “can make the flooding worse” and “can also make water quality worse by releasing buried toxins”.

He added that the project will not just cause health problems from the increased air and noise pollution in the vicinity but “will also destroy our heritage”.

Vergara also said the river is “a silent witness to history”, adding for instance the journey of the first Augustinian missionaries who were believed to have passed through the river towards Maybunga and Pinagbuhatan.

“We should not allow PAREX to erase our river of memory and to kill the river of life forever,” he said.

RELATED: Critics of Pasig River expressway project ask gov’t to prioritize people over cars