Press Release
July 20, 2014


Senator Cynthia A. Villar yesterday assured they are ready to help curb the problem on water lilies in Pasig River, reported to be hampering the operation of the newly-opened river ferry system.

Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Planning Officer Rey Lunas said they are monitoring in Pasig River the massive growth of water lilies which are starting to complicate their daily operation.

He noted that carpets of water lilies, aside from various garbage, clogged the ferry boat's propellers and filters.

Fortunately, the propellers can be elevated to remove tangled water lilies and garbage unlike before when their personnel have to go underwater to remove them.

In order to help address the water lilies woes, Villar noted they have the Villar SIPAG (Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance) that can provide training and teach all those interested to weave waterlily stalks into baskets like laundry baskets and bayong; mats; slippers and furniture, among others.

Aside from removing water lilies in Pasig River , the water lilies, which is also part of her environmental advocacies, Villar said they can likewise give livelihood opportunity to people who want to earn or augment their income by weaving waterlilies into worthwhile products.

The senator extolled that even the fabulous and beautiful gowns being worn by all candidates during the search for "Miss Water Lily Festival" in the city in the month of July, were made of water lilies.

"We had done this in Las Piñas. We had successfully cleaned our own Las Piñas-Zapote River of water lilies that used to give problems to Las Piñeros--they clogged the river and contributed to flooding in the city," related Vllar.

Because of these problems with water lilies, Villar said they thought of making an industry out of them through the Villar Foundation, now Villar SIPAG.

"This gave birth to the Water Hyacinth Basket Weaving Enterprise which we are bringing to other areas in the country as part of our livelihood programs," stressed Villar.

Through these efforts, the former three-term congresswoman of Las Piñas City, said they were able to give jobs to Las Piñeros.

The move to rehabilitate the Las Piñas-Zapote River had also won for Las Piñas the United Nation's award for "Water for Life, Best Management Practices in 2011. Las Piñas City bested 38 other countries all over the world.

According to Villar, there must be initiatives to help clean Pasig River of water lilies so that it would not adversely affect ferry operations.

"We all know that the ferry operation was revived to help ease traffic gridlock in Metro Manila especially with the ongoing infrastructure projects," she said.

"With the increasing ridership in ferry boats, I 'm sure that in a way, it has been helping alleviate traffic problems for our people," she further stated.

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