20 May 2014

SBMA eyes rehabilitation of Olongapo river

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is now eyeing the rehabilitation of the Kalalake River, which borders this free port and the neighboring city of Olongapo.

Atty. Severo Pastor, manager of the SBMA Labor Department, disclosed this on Saturday as the Subic authority spearheaded this month’s river clean-up project along the river from the free port’s 14th Street Gate to the Kalaklan Gate.

“Now that we have cleared the area, we are now planning to plant ornamental trees there, especially in those areas near the Harbor Point Mall and the Volunteers Park, since these places are being frequented by visitors,” Pastor said.

“We hope that by planting trees along riverbanks, we could help rehabilitate the river, which used to be the lifeblood of the fishing community that once thrived in Olongapo,” Pastor said.

As part of the continuing river clean-up program, the SBMA is planning to build floating platforms in the river that community volunteers can use during clean-up activities.

Pastor said that his office has already coordinated with the five barangays located along the winding Kalalake River for the proposed clean-up platforms.

Beginning November last year, the SBMA Labor Department has conducted monthly river clean-ups with the help of volunteers from Freeport locator-companies, schools and barangays in Olongapo City, as well as with various SBMA departments.

“In exchange for their help, the SBMA is providing livelihood projects for Olongapo residents, as well as scholarships for dual training in computer hardware and electronics for their children,” Pastor shared.

The SBMA official said they wanted the Subic Bay Freeport “to look good not just inside the fenced-in area, but also outside it.”

Pastor added that under the administration of Chairman Roberto Garcia, the SBMA has intensified its program to protect and conserve the local environment and encouraged neighboring communities to join eco-tourism projects.

“We wanted to give visitors a good first impression of Subic Bay and Olongapo City,” Pastor stressed. “These two neighboring areas, anyway, have shared the same aspirations and the same desire for progress all through the years.” (FMD-MPD/SBMA)

Volunteers from the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, locator-companies in the Subic Bay Freeport, and barangays and schools in Olongapo City scour the riverside for garbage during a clean-up project last Saturday.