Activities by NGOs and CBOs : Philippines | Case 1
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Activities by NGOs and CBOs Philippines

Case 1: Pasig River Rehabilitation
Name of Activity Pasig River Rehabilitation
Organization Sagip Pasig Movement
Area Pasig River


Once known to be the one of the most beautiful rivers in the country, the 27 kilometer long Pasig River is now biologically dead. This sorry state can be attributed to the unabated dumping of garbage, untreated industrial effluents and domestic liquid waste into the river and its tributaries.

In the 1990’s the Philippine government embarked on a grand rehabilitation effort by organizing different agencies to work together to bring the river back to life.

By 1993, 30 NGOs, then headed by First Lady Ming Ramos, took cognizance of the importance of stakeholder participation and established the Sagip Pasig Movement. It was then led by Green Forum Phils. SPM was formally incorporated in 1997.

SPM’s task is to mobilize residents, academe, markets and industries in focused areas along riverbanks into clean, coordinative and capable communities. This is SPM’s unique strategy of river rehabilitation, establishing Clean River Zones.

Clean River Zone

SPM recognizes that the tragic condition of the Pasig River is brought about by a host of problems, the solutions to which range from the political to the technical.  Aware that it can only do so much and yet must, do it well, SPM is focusing on the aspect of the rehabilitation efforts that has been given less attention – the activation of the communities and stakeholders as resource managers and program partners. 

Towards this end, SPM has developed a unique model of community-based river rehabilitation and development that is premised on the principle that to sustain rehabilitation efforts, the various stakeholders must be organized into a social movement of Clean River Zones that are:

  • Capable of mobilizing participants for advocacy issuesrelevant to the area;
  • Multi-sectoral yet coordinative in all river rehabilitation efforts;
  • Able to organize participants into a structure that make the most efficient and effective use of their resources; and,
  • Able to employ strategies and programs that allow them to achieve their goals.

The CRZs are envisioned as composed of organized communities that practice sustainable management of community waste from residential, commercial and industrial sources.  The members in the CRZ possess a high degree of awareness on environmental issues affecting them and are capable of mobilizing the community to act as one.  The CRZ has institutionalized coordinative bodies or core groups that have clear administrative operational structure.

CRZ Criteria

To fully declare an area as a Clean River Zone, several criteria are observed:

  • A multi-sectoral Forum shall have been formed and operationalized
  • All participating sectors should have been formed and operationalized
  • All participating sectors should have a functional program on river rehabilitation
  • Linkages to the local government should have been established and strengthened
  • Established community-based waste management programs shall have created a visible impact on the community

A marked improvement in the aesthetic environment shall have been observed.

Core Program

During its inception, SPM identified 407 target barangays situated in nine cities and municipalities in Metro Manila. Since then, SPM has organized communities in Manila, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Quezon City and Pasig. Through community-based waste management projects, SPM has helped reduce solid waste pollution in the river from 10% in 1990 to 5% in 1998. SPM conducts environmental information and education campaigns as well as capability-building seminars. It organizes identified sectors in riverbank communities to establish Clean River Zones.

It was also active in policy advocacy for the passage of the Solid Waste Management Act and the Clean Water Act. SPM holds fora and symposia to inform the public of the salient features of these environmental laws.

The Annual Lason sa Ilog Pasig Awards, SPM’s public disclosure program, pressured numerous industries to install wastewater treatment facilities. Within the ten years of Lason awarding, Pasig River’s industrial pollution decreased to 35% from 45%.

1n 2002, SPM expanded its program in the context of Population, Health and Environment. By 2005, SPM will put up population management and health service components in its river rehabilitation projects.

Current Undertakings

Entering its 12th year in the first quarter of 2005, SPM will be launching its first book entitled Unfinished Business, documenting the impact of its public disclosure program.

SPM will be conducting the National Summit on the State of Philippine Rivers on April during the celebration of the International Earth Day.

Targeting critical areas along the Pasig River system, SPM is mainstreaming the Clean River Zone Program in partnership with local government units. By convening these communities and integrating the CRZ in barangay development plans, SPM foresees a more sustainable river rehabilitation program.

As secretariat of the International Earth Day Network-Philippines, SPM hopes to gather more sectors to engage in environmental work.

As a movement, it shall continue to work for the rehabilitation of Pasig River and other water bodies in the country.

The People Behind the Movement

SPM’s strength lies in its community. It takes pride in having developed community leaders who have now risen to the ranks of its Board of Directors:

President : Tatay Ben Galindo of KKPC, Quezon City
Vice Pres. : Armando Villenas of SUMAPI, Manila
Treasurer : Michael Brusola of SKPP, Manila
Secretary : Gerald Buce of SUMAPI, Manila
Member : Evelyn Galang of ROTCHNA, Quezon City
    Salvacion Encepto of QUIEC, Quezon City
    Rosalinda Nudo of MJLA, Mandaluyong
    Antonio Banay of SISJ, San Juan
    Venerando Bufete of SKSP, San Juan


The secretariat is composed of seasoned developmental workers headed by Executive Director Ms. Myrna J.H. Jimenez. SPM’s legal counsel is Atty. Wigberto “Toby” Tañada Jr. who is also one of its volunteer advocates.

SPM works with an extensive network of partners from people’s organizations, schools, civic groups, commercial establishments, government agencies and local government units, rallying together for the rehabilitation of Pasig River


Sagip Pasig Movement
3rd Flr. Secal Building
DENR Compound, Visayas Ave.
Diliman, Quezon City

Source: Sagip Pasig Movement

Related Presentation:NGOs and Initiatives on Water Resources Management

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