San Miguel ramps up Pasig River cleanup as Japan brings in more NYK equipment

Department of Environment and Natural Resources of the Philippines (DENR) undersecretary Jonas Leones, NYK President Hitoshi Nagasawa, Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines Kazuhiko Koshikawa, San Miguel Corporation President and CEO Ramon S. Ang, Overall Project Manager Jimmy Lu, Field Project Manager Capt. Benito Ante.

San Miguel Corporation (SMC) is ramping up its multi-billion Pasig River rehabilitation initiative amid the rainy season following Japan shipping giant NYK Line’s donation of powerful, high-capacity excavators as part of its $1.5 million donation to the conglomerate’s initiative.

SMC President and CEO Ramon S. Ang formally accepted the two new equipment from NYK President Hitoshi Nagasawa in a ceremony attended by Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines Kazuhiko Koshikawa, and Department of Environment and Natural Resources of the Philippines (DENR) undersecretary Jonas Leones at the project’s staging area in Pandacan, Manila.

“We are deeply honored and thankful to receive this donation to boost our river rehabilitation operations at a time when heavy rains and typhoons threaten most Metro Manila cities with severe flooding,” Ang said.

SMC marks the first year since it started the Pasig cleanup effort in July 2021.

“This cooperation highlights the same mindset that San Miguel and NYK have in expanding our sustainability initiatives, particularly in conserving water resources. We hope that this will encourage other companies in the country to cooperate with each other in aggressively pursuing initiatives that will benefit future generations,” he added.

SMC’s P2-billion Pasig River initiative, along with the ongoing P1-billion Tullahan river rehabilitation, are both in support of the Manila Bay rehabilitation program that started in 2019.

To date, SMC’s dredging teams have extracted a total of 437,890 metric tons of silt and waste from Pasig River while the company recently reached its 1 million metric ton target at the Tullahan River.  The Tullahan output currently stands at 1,009,382 metric tons.

For his part, Nagasawa thanked Ang for giving NYK the opportunity to participate in the program. Aside from the Pasig River equipment donation, NYK also has initiatives in support of Filipino seafarers.

“I am optimistic that our newfound relationship with San Miguel Corporation will lead to deeper communication and allow us to seek more opportunities for the benefit of Filipinos and the Philippines,” Nagasawa said.

San Miguel and NYK, in the presence of the DENR, formalized the donation agreement last year.

Aside from the donation, NYK will handle the maintenance costs of the said equipment, which has a bucket capacity of 3 to 4.5 cubic meters.

On top of NYK’s donation, Ang said the company is also set to take delivery of five new excavators it recently acquired, in the coming weeks.

“With our additional new equipment, together with the two units donated by NYK, and our hiring of more personnel, we will be able to increase our extraction capacity and reach our monthly targets faster. Right now, we are consistently hitting the 50,000 metric ton target since January this year and I am proud of what our dredging teams have accomplished so far,” Ang said.

Ang said that completed sections of the Pasig River now measure five to six meters deep from the previous two to three meters. This was following extraction of silt and solid wastes that restrict the waterway’s flow and capacity.

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