The Catholic prelate of Pasig has expressed opposition to what he described as “the harmful effects” of the building of the Pasig River Expressway or PAREx.
In a pastoral statement released on Friday, March 25, Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara said the Pasig River “needs our protection and most of all rehabilitation.”
PAREX, the 19.37 km. lane elevated concrete road, will sit right on top of the Pasig River.
The bishop said it will be “detrimental to the river itself, the surrounding communities, and to Metro Manila at large.”
“We do not need another project like an expressway in order to be called a ‘livable city’ that will cause harm and death,” said the prelate in his pastoral letter.
“PAREX is not a solution to ease the traffic but will worsen our future,” he said, adding that the Php 95-billion investment by conglomerate San Miguel Corp. goes against the need to protect and rehabilitate the historic river.
Bishop Vergara said the Catholic diocese is opposing the project because of its impact on ecology, health and culture.
He said the expressway project will dredge several parts of the river, which “can make the flooding worse” and “can also make water quality worse by releasing buried toxins.”
The prelate said the project will not just cause health problems from the increased air and noise pollution in the vicinity but “will also destroy our heritage.”
Bishop Vergara said the river is “a silent witness to history,” citing the journey of the first Augustinian missionaries who were believed to have passed through the river toward Maybunga and Pinagbuhatan.