There’s still no word up to now if the recent Pasig River Fun Run did in fact break any world record. Maybe there is but it appears there’s not much hype around it. Had it broken the record we can safely assume that ABS-CBN, which race organizer Gina Lopez’s family owns, would have already made a lot of noise around the story.
Such is the nature of the beast. If the story is negative (no world record broken) it stays silent. Not really surprising since this has been going on for many years now. I’m talking about the silence of those so called advocates of the river’s revival on the existence of industrial facilities along the river and its tributaries.
As I said before, this fun run and all the others before it are worthless activities. These do not really address the need to rehabilitate the river. Glaringly obvious is the fact that most if not all of those who participated did not really get involved because of any level of concern for the river. They just wanted the fun of running. That’s all. So in terms of raising awareness and involving more people in the advocacy, I’d say Pasig River fun runs are failures.
My biggest issue however is again on the fact that the organizers of this fun run are conveniently avoiding the point that aside from squatter colonies there are industrial facilities still operating along the river and its tributaries. This begs the question: Why are they silent on this?
The answer is so obvious. One of the operators of these industrial facilities is major advertiser Unilever. It also just so happens that Miss Lopez is part of the family that owns ABS-CBN. (I know I already stated this above but it has to be repeated for the sake of clarity.) It also just so happens that ABS-CBN benefits a lot from advertising generated from Unilever.
Clearly, there is conflict of interest here. How can we expect Miss Lopez to attack all the problems contributing to the continued degradation of Pasig River if she has to protect some interests?
President Benigno Aquino III should reconsider the appointment of Miss Lopez as head of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission. He should instead appoint someone who has no ties at all to any of these big businesses. Preferably that person should have some engineering background because the degradation of Pasig River is essentially also an engineering problem. It is not a publicity problem that someone like Miss Lopez with her ties to one of the leading media companies in the country can easily solve through fun runs and other publicity gimmicks.
Of course, I’d be willing to change my opinion if and when Miss Lopez does come out with a campaign that also addresses head on the existence of industrial facilities in the area. I am challenging her to push for the removal of these facilities.
I’d like to end this rant with excerpts from a manilatimes.net piece written by Dennis L. Berino. he wrote:
Industries and businesses lined up along the riverbanks have used the waterways as well for dumping toxic wastes. The general population, especially those within its proximate distance also dump garbage and refuse into the river. The government – from the barangay to city and department levels – all failed miserably to enforce tons of existing laws to protect the river and its ecosystem from the depredations.
There were continuing initiatives during the past 20 years to help save the river system but most failed to turn back the environmental onslaught against it. The current group spearheading the Pasig River clean up used the run as one of the means to support the revival. The run aimed as well to break the world record of the biggest number of participants in an organized run.
To my mind, the greater significance of the number is not so much breaking the world record but creating a critical mass of Filipinos who will consciously contribute to the preservation of the environment. The Pasig River is just one example of an ecological system laid to waste by our neglect and indifference. Many river systems in the country, as well as many of our mountain and forest systems, the air we breathe, the land we live in are suffering from pollution.
You may read the full article through this link.