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Saving the Pasig River through an arts program

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A NUMBER OF arts activities are scheduled in six cities of Metro Manila until December as an initiative to raise awareness of the need to rehabilitate the Pasig River.

The 27 km-long Pasig River was a major transport route for traders and served as a water source for most of Manila’s long history. However, due to population growth in Metro Manila and increasing industrialization over the last few decades, the river has been polluted by household, solid, and industrial waste.

THE CAMPAIGN
To promote an appreciation for the river’s history and importance, and to raise awareness of the current rehabilitation efforts, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) is spearheading a campaign called Taga-Alog 2018, Ilog Pasig: Balik Tanaw, Balik Sigla! (Shakers 2018, Pasig River: Bring back the view, bring back its health), featuring an arts programs to be implemented by the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA).

“The project aims to involve and to be partners with as many stakeholders, community dwellers (along the Ilog Pasig banks), and the general public in saving the river using arts advocacy as its main strategy,” a press release said.

This is an effort to make the Pasig River a “cultural highway” to reach people’s consciousness in awareness of its current condition and develop its rehabilitation efforts, said Egay Fernandez, a cluster representative of the Taga-Alog 2018 Technical Working Group at the campaign’s press launch on June 28 in Intramuros, Manila.

Beginning this month until the end of year, a number of programs and events will be mounted in the six partner cities — Marikina, Manila, Mandaluyong, Pasig, Taguig, and San Juan — through which the river runs.

The programs are: TampisAwit (a songwriting workshop and competition), LikhAgos (a creative writing workshop and competition), Wisik, mga kwentong siksik (a short film workshop and competition), DramAhon (a performance workshop and competition), Indak patak (a dance workshop), Lakbay Baybay experiential tours, and Lagaslas (online and print publications).

There is alsos the Taga-alog 2018 Ilog Pasig Balik Tanaw, Balik Sigla conference and arts events.

RIVER MUSIC
Activities in July will focus on music.

Posporos Sa Ilog, a musical project by the Spanish Embassy and the NCCA International Affairs Office, will be held along the river on July 5.

Songwriting workshops will be held at ICAM NCCA Intramuros Manila and Kapitan Moy in Marikina on July 14 and 15, respectively.

Linggo ng Musikang Pilipino will showcase performances along the river banks from July 22 to 26 and culminate with a grand concert on July 27 at Circuit Makati.

“We want to change mindsets and get individuals involved so that through the government efforts, we can complement it with the efforts of the people living in the community because, at the end of the day, they are the stakeholders. They are those who benefit [the] most, and they should be made to realize that,” Queng Reyles, PETA Theater Center program director and project lead of Taga-Alog 2018, said of the value of government and individual efforts.

“The importance of this project is to raise awareness so that people will give their share of the rehabilitation of the Pasig River,” she added.

“One of the key features of this project, for the first year, is awareness and building partnerships… We want to engage all the stakeholders not just to evaluate the project, but to make recommendations on the strategies that the campaign can take in the following year,” Ms. Reyles said.

For more information on the project, visit www.facebook.com/TagaAlog2018, e-mail nccatagalog@gmail.com, or contact PETA at 725-6244 loc. 22-23. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman